Charges dropped against Stanley Wrice in gang rape case - FOX 35 News Orlando

Charges dropped against Stanley Wrice in gang rape case

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Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Prosecutors dropped charges against Stanley Wrice on Thursday, a day after he walked out of prison after spending three decades behind bars.

Earlier this week, Wrice was sent into giddy daze when Cook County Judge Richard Walsh overturned his conviction and granted him a new trial for a brutal 1982 gang rape. Wrice said he was forced to confess to the South Side crime after he was tortured by a pair of detectives working under now-disgraced Area 2 Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

The rape victim, who never identified Wrice, and two of his co-defendants have since died.

"I was relieved. I was happy that it happened. I feel good, really good right now," Wrice said upon his release from the Pontiac Correctional Center on Wednesday,

Wrice noticed two things after he was released.

"The size of the cars, I can't believe how small they got, and everyone has these phones," the 59-year-old Wrice said as his lawyers laughed during the car ride back to Chicago.

Wrice testified this week that then-Detective John Byrne whacked him with a flashlight while Byrne's partner Peter Dignan beat him with a 20-inch piece of rubber.

Both Byrne and Dignan invoked the Fifth Amendment at Wrice's evidentiary hearing.

Wrice, who was sentenced to 100 years in prison, said he was bitter and angry during the first 20 years of his incarceration. But he said his strong faith helped him keep hope that someone would take his claims seriously.

"I believe God was listening, that's what I kept in my mind and heart," he said.

Seeing Byrne and Dignan in court after 31 years wasn't too difficult, Wrice said.

"It felt good to look at them in the face and know they couldn't beat me. They couldn't get their hands on me," he said.

Meanwhile, Wrice looked forward to a home-cooked dinner by one of his sisters. Reconnecting with family, which includes 10 siblings, three daughters and a son, is a priority, Wrice said Wednesday.

Wrice said he will also keep busy with his new job as an outreach program director for David Protess at the Chicago Innocence Project.

Wrice isn't sure what the job entails.

But he has plenty of time to learn.

In the meantime, Wrice's mouth watered thinking about the meal from Hackney's he planned to eat at a celebration party at his attorney Heidi Linn Lambros' house.

"I just want my cheeseburger," Wrice said.

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