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Alvarez: Crime lab backlog held up DNA evidence on Evans’ gun

Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans  |  Sun-Times file photo

Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: September 30, 2014 6:20AM

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Thursday that a backlog at the Illinois State Police crime lab was responsible for a nearly one-year delay in processing key DNA evidence that has led to charges against a Chicago Police commander for allegedly putting a gun in a suspect’s mouth.

Glenn Evans, commander of the Harrison District on the West Side, allegedly put his .45-caliber pistol “deep down” the suspect’s throat last year. Evans also allegedly held a Taser to the man’s groin and threatened to kill him unless he led officers to the gun he was allegedly carrying.

Evans, 52, one of police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s most trusted commanders, was charged Wednesday with official misconduct and aggravated battery, both felonies. He was released Thursday without having to post bond and was able to avoid reporters when he was allowed to go through a ceremonial door rarely used at the courthouse.

A Cook County Sheriff’s lieutenant who let Evans leave through the door will be disciplined. Evans was supposed to go out the regular doors used by the public, and the lieutenant disobeyed the orders, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

According to prosecutors, the key evidence against Evans is a match between DNA evidence swabbed from his gun and DNA evidence taken from the mouth of the suspect, Rickey J. Williams, 24.

Evans arrested Williams for reckless conduct on Jan. 30, 2013, after a chase in the Grand Crossing District on the South Side, where Evans was commander before moving to the Harrison District on the West Side. Evans said he saw Williams on the street with a gun. Williams was hiding in vacant house when he was nabbed.

On Jan. 31, 2013, Williams filed a brutality complaint against Evans with the Independent Police Review Authority. Evans was required to turn over his gun, which police internal investigators swabbed for DNA on Feb. 1, 2013. They also obtained a DNA sample from Williams.

In May 2013, those samples were submitted to the state police, which completed the testing on April 17, 2014, Alvarez said.

“Once the case gets to the crime lab, as I always say, DNA results are not obtained in 30 minutes as you see on TV. There is a grid that this case was put on. I know that there is a backlog in the Illinois State Police,” Alvarez said, responding to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s something that we deal with every day.”

But Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the state police, said the turnaround for the testing was reasonable.

“If priority is indicated, it usually takes three to four months,” Bond said. “There was no indication the evidence was a priority. Given the amount of cases we have to process, this was a reasonable amount of time.”

Meanwhile, Evans’ attorney Laura Morask said her client’s arrest was the result of a “flawed IPRA investigation.”

“To this day, no one has asked the commander his side of the story,” she said.

Evans turned his gun in immediately, Morask noted. “He had nothing to hide. He had an absolute innocent state of mind,” she said.

The reckless conduct case against Williams was dropped when the officers failed to appear in court. They never found the gun he was allegedly carrying before he was arrested.

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