‘Midnight Years’ Memoir a Story of Surviving Jon Burge

From the 1970s through the early ‘90s, Chicago Police Detective Jon Burge and his men, known as “The Midnight Crew,” tortured suspects to obtain often false confessions. 

Burge was suspended from the force in 1991. He was convicted of felony obstruction of justice and perjury in 2010. More than 120 victims have come forward – and Burge-related lawsuits have cost the city more than $100 million.

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When Ronald Kitchen encountered Jon Burge in 1988, the detective was not yet known for his crimes.

Kitchen was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He spent two decades in prison, including a dozen years on death row, before he was exonerated and released in 2009. 

He’s written about his experience in “My Midnight Years: Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row.” His co-authors are Thai Jones and Logan McBride. 

“This book is about not just an innocent man being placed on death row, but this book is about an innocent man trying to regain his life. This book is for my kids to understand – my grandkids to understand – that I fought,” Kitchen said. “This book is going to help … I guess, help me bring some type of closure to a great big dark part of my life.”

Kitchen joins us in discussion. You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Related stories:

Free After 23 Years in Prison, Exonerated Man Files Suit Against City

Survivors of Torture Under Jon Burge Find a Place of Respite

Is Chicago Really the ‘False Confession Capital’?

CPS Adding New Course on History of Jon Burge Torture Cases

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