Man convicted during Burge era — then released — back behind bars
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter May 27, 2014 2:32PM
Victor Safforld as he leaves the Cook County Jail in 2010. | Sun-Times file
Updated: May 27, 2014 5:28PM
A convicted felon who said he was forced to confess to a pair of murders because he was tortured by former Area 2 Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s underlings was back behind bars Tuesday for allegedly failing to register as a violent offender.
Victor Safforld maintained his innocence when he was released from prison in 2010 even though he pleaded guilty to one of the 1990 gang-related murders.
Safforld, now 43, said he only admitted to killing Curtis Sims so he could start a new life as a free man as soon as possible.
In 2009, Cook County Judge Clayton Crane granted Safforld new trials for the murders of Sims and Delvin Boelter, citing overwhelming evidence that Safforld — who used to go by the name Cortez Brown — was tortured.
While Crane sentenced the former self-admitted Gangster Disciple to 40 years in prison for Sims’ murder, Safforld was eligible for early release in 2010 because he already had served nearly two decades in prison for the fatal shooting.
As part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, murder charges were dropped against Safforld in the Boelter killing.
Safforld initially was sentenced to 35 years in prison for Boelter’s murder. He was later convicted and sentenced to death in 1992 for killing Sims, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison by former Gov. George Ryan.
As a convicted murderer, Safforld, by law, must register as a violent offender.
Prosecutors said he last registered on May 14, 2013 and was supposed to re-register on the same date this year.
During a traffic stop near his home in the 700 block of West 60th Place Monday evening, Safforld admitted he did not re-register, Assistant State’s Attorney Alexandra Molesky said during a Tuesday hearing.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Safforld held in lieu of $750,000 Tuesday for failing to register as a violent person.
However, the judge also ordered him held without bail for violating conditions of his bond for a pending forgery case in Cook County.
Safforld also has a pending forgery case out of DuPage County, Molesky said.
In 2010, Safforld told reporters that Burge was a “poster boy for corrupt cops.”
“He couldn’t have done all that without his rogue detectives,” he said.
“They should be punished just like they punished others — for them to go to prison and sit there.”
Burge is currently serving a 4 ½-year prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to the forced confessions at Area 2.