DNA TESTING IN CONVICTION INTEGRITY INVESTIGATION LEADS TO NEW CHARGES
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has charged a new suspect in connection with the vicious murder and sexual assault of a child after vacating the conviction of a man who had initially been tried and convicted of the crime more than two decades ago, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.
Bond was denied today for Osborne Wade, 42, who is now charged with First Degree Murder in the brutal slaying of six-year old Lindsey Murdock in August of 1992. The child’s body was discovered by police under a pile of debris in a garage on the far South Side of Chicago after his family had reported him missing the previous day. Lindsey Murdock had been strangled and he sustained multiple blunt and sharp force injuries.
The charges against Wade are the result of an extensive investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, formed by Alvarez in 2012 to investigate cases involving potential wrongful convictions. In 2015 the State’s Attorney’s Office agreed to new DNA testing on evidence in the case at the request of attorneys representing Mark Maxson, who had been convicted of the murder of Lindsey Murdock in 1994 and was serving a life sentence in prison.
The testing, conducted on blood evidence recovered at the crime scene, generated a DNA profile that did not match Lindsey Murdock or Mark Maxson. Further analysis of the DNA profile led investigators to an association with Osborne Wade.
At the time of the charges Wade was being held in custody at Cook County Jail on a charge of Failing to Register as a Murderer. In recent days prosecutors said Wade provided videotaped statements to investigators in which he admitted to the murder of Lindsey Murdock. Wade was previously sentenced to 22 years in prison in 1997 for the 1994 stabbing murder of a family member.
State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the members of the Conviction Integrity Unit and the Cold Case Unit as well as investigators with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their dedicated work on the case.
“This case reminds us in a very painful way that we must continue to put our best proactive efforts toward the investigation of wrongful convictions and do everything that we possibly can to correct the mistakes of the past,” said Alvarez.
“On behalf of the Cook County criminal justice system, we offer apologies to Mark Maxson and his family for this horrific ordeal as well as sympathies to the family members of Lindsey Murdock who have endured an exceptionally difficult and painful journey towards justice in the senseless and heinous murder of their beloved child.”
Mark Maxson is the 15th individual whose conviction has been vacated as a result of reinvestigations by the Conviction Integrity Unit.
The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.