Virus threat prompts prison release of convicted Chicago cop

Chicago News

CHICAGO (AP) – A federal judge has ordered that a former Chicago police officer convicted of conspiring with a gang member in the kidnappings and robberies of drug dealers released from prison more than six years early due to the threat of the coronavirus.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall said Glenn Lewellen’s extreme obesity, hypertension and a heart condition put him at elevated risk of contracting a severe case of the virus that has claimed more than 95,000 lives in the United States.

Over the objections of prosecutors, the judge in a 14-page ruling, Gottschall said there was evidence that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has struggled to contain the virus within its facilities and that she believed Lewellen has been rehabilitated.

Further, the judge criticized federal prosecutors for what she characterized as his overstatement of his crimes.

The 64-year-old Lewellen was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2013 after a trial in which prosecutors presented evidence that Lewellen conspired with a paid a gang member who was his paid informant in eight robberies and kidnappings between 1998 and 2006.

The Tribune reported that neither Lewellen’s attorney nor a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office could be reached for comment.

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