As the camera rolled, Earl Casteel, 33, was startled to hear Jimenez threaten him."Why shouldn't I blast you right now? " Casteel replied, according to a transcript of the video in court records. I ain't got nothing against you."Without hesitation, Jimenez nonchalantly aimed his pistol at Casteel's legs and opened fire, shooting him once in each thigh."Why would you do that?" Casteel cried out as he fell to the street."Shut up, bitch," Jimenez said before speeding away.He was quickly awarded a certificate of innocence that allowed him to recoup nearly 0,000 from the state for his wrongful imprisonment.
Overcome with anger, depression and despair, Jimenez's moods swung wildly from combative to nearly catatonic.After years writing letters begging lawyers and other advocacy groups to take a look at his case, he finally caught a break in 2005, when attorneys and students from the Northwestern University Bluhm Center on Wrongful Convictions decided to reinvestigate his conviction.In his first few years of freedom, Jimenez managed to stay busy with his legal team working on his civil lawsuit.He began dating a woman and had two children with her. 17, 2015, by Jose Roman, gang associate of Thaddeus Jimenez, shows the two men driving through the Irving Park neighborhood before Jimenez shoots Earl Casteel, a onetime gang member. Shortly after 11 a.m., Jimenez pulled the Mercedes up to an ex-gang member who knew the two men and greeted them warmly.
His passenger, Jose Roman, held a .22-caliber Mossberg semiautomatic rifle at his side as he filmed their travels with his i Phone.
"Not a scratch on me, and yes, I'm still running the s---."Prosecutors signaled they'll seek a 10-year prison term, the maximum possible, for Jimenez, while his attorney, Steven Greenberg, sought the minimum sentence, noting that his client had already spent 16 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.
Once he was back on the streets, Jimenez had little guidance and quickly squandered what was left of his settlement on "status-enhancing material goods" and other efforts to rebuild his gang, Greenberg said."Ironically, the restitution he received for his terrible injuries did not bring healing, it just drew other vultures to pick at his wounds," wrote Greenberg, who asked U. District Judge Harry Leinenweber for a sentence of about 31/2 years.
Attorney Jon Loevy, left, stands in January 2012 at a news conference with his client Thaddeus Jimenez, who was arrested at 13 only to be exonerated after serving 16 years in prison. Attorney Jon Loevy, left, stands in January 2012 at a news conference with his client Thaddeus Jimenez, who was arrested at 13 only to be exonerated after serving 16 years in prison. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)'A cornered animal'Born in 1979 to a working-class single mother, Jimenez was introduced into the gang lifestyle as a young boy by uncles who were father figures but also Simon City Royals gang members.
By the time he was 10, Jimenez was skipping school and "dabbling in drugs," according to Greenberg's filing.
In 2014, he and several other gang members were convicted of misdemeanor reckless conduct for donning masks and bandannas over their faces and surrounding vehicular traffic, prosecutors said.