Victim Challenges Killer’s Torture Award

     CHICAGO (CN) — A man who survived an attempted murder as a child says his assailant shouldn’t get $100,000 for claims that the convicted murderer was tortured by Jon Burge’s Chicago police force.
     California resident Richard Pueschel, 43, sued the City of Chicago in Cook County Chancery Court on Thursday.
     According to the lawsuit, Jerry Mahaffey was convicted of the Aug. 28-29, 1983, rape and murder of the plaintiff’s mother, Jo Ellen Pueschel, the murder of Dean Pueschel, and the attempted murder of the then-11-year-old plaintiff in Chicago.
     Mahaffey confessed that he and his little brother had gone to the West Rogers Park neighborhood to break into a clothing store, but when their van broke down they wandered around and crawled into the Pueschels’ open window, according to the Chicago Tribune.
     Jo Ellen, 30, was raped, pistol-whipped, then clubbed to death in her living room, while Dean, 26, was stabbed several times and beaten to death, the Tribune reported.
     The younger Pueschel was beaten with his own baseball bats and stabbed in the back, prosecutors reportedly said at trial.
     Mahaffey is now allegedly serving a life sentence at Stateville Prison in Joliet, Ill. Yet Chicago recently awarded Mahaffey $100,000, according to Pueschel’s complaint.
     The award stems from Chicago’s “ordinance ordaining the Reparations for Burge Torture Victims program to compensate any victims of torture or police abuse performed by or at the direction of former Chicago Police Officer Jon Burge,” the complaint states.
     The program was allegedly created to financially compensate anyone with “a credible claim of torture or physical abuse by Jon Burge or one of the officers under his command at Area 2 or Area 3 Police Headquarters between May 1, 1972 and Nov. 30, 1991.”
     According to Pueschel’s April 14 lawsuit, Mahaffey “applied for reparations because he claimed he was a victim of torture or police misconduct when the Chicago Police Department investigated the 1983 murders, rapes, and attempted murders for which he was convicted.”
     The state Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found in 2013 that there was credible evidence that Burge ‘s detectives had tortured Mahaffey into confessing, the Tribune reported.
     But the Commission reportedly voted last November against sending Mahaffey’s case to a Cook County judge to determine if the convict should be granted a new trial.
     Meanwhile, Pueschel has filed a separate personal injury lawsuit against Mahaffey, seeking compensation from him for the 1983 attempted murder, the April 14 complaint states.
     “The value of plaintiff’s personal injury claim against Mahaffey exceeds $100,000,” last week’s lawsuit states. “As a convict serving a life sentence in prison, it is likely that plaintiff will be unable to collect any meaningful money from Jerry Mahaffey once plaintiff obtains his inevitable judgment in excess of $100,000 against Mahaffey.”
     Pueschel thus seeks a judgment directing Chicago to hold the hundred grand and temporarily restraining and enjoining the city from giving the money to Mahaffey.
     “The potential injury to the plaintiff cannot adequately be addressed by an action at law because the city of Chicago is in a unique position, as it is currently in possession of the only significant assets that Jerry Mahaffey may have rights to, and that plaintiff will inevitably be entitled to, once judgment in his personal injury action is entered against Jerry Mahaffey,” the four-page complaint states.
     The city did not return a request for comment Friday.
     Pueschel is represented by Thomas Murphy with Cogan & Power in Chicago.

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