Recent Medill Justice Project investigations. Photos courtesy of the state’s department of corrections except for the photo of McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr. which is courtesy of Sheila Phipps and Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore which is courtesy of Billy X. Jennings’ Black Panther Party archival collection.

The McKinley ‘Mac’ Phipps Jr. Case

Mac cropped Investigation:
Dec. 30, 2014: Shot in the Dark: The Medill Justice Project tracks down key witnesses whose accounts challenge the testimony of the sole eyewitness against McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr.

  • Read the story on The Lens’ website here.

The Kenny ‘Zulu’ Whitmore Case

Zulu1-196x300 Investigation:
July 19, 2014: Louisiana Warden Considers End to Inmate’s Solitary Confinement After More Than Three Decades

  • Read the story on The Lens’ website here.
  • Read the story on The Advocate’s website here.
  • Read Time’s story on MJP’s interview here.

Aug. 4, 2014: No Word from Warden Cain of Angola About Prisoner’s Fate
Aug. 26, 2014: Panther Proof: Angola Warden Says Black Panther Party Advocates Violence and Racism but Is It True?
Aug. 26, 2014: Photo Essay: Panther Tracks
Aug. 28, 2014: In the Hole: Solitary Confinement Comes Under Greater Scrutiny in the United States

  • Read the story on The Lens’ website here.

Dec. 8, 2014: Confession or Coercion?: The Medill Justice Project Unearths New Information Never Raised at Trial that Calls into Question the Conviction of Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore Who Has Been Held in Solitary Confinement for 35 Years

Documents: The Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore Case

The Jennifer Hancock Case

Hancock mug

May 19, 2014: Day 1: Key Witness Changes his View About 2007 Infant-Death Case; Day 2: Experts Offer Multiple Explanations for Infant’s Death

  • Read the day one story on Wisconsin State Journal’s website here.
  • Read the day two story on Wisconsin State Journal’s website here.

Case updates:
March 11, 2014: Judge Denies Access to Infant’s Medical Records
March 27, 2014: Medill Justice Project to Appeal Denial of Access to Medical Records
June 11, 2014: Medill Justice Project Files Brief in Appeal for Medical Records
July 3, 2014: Wisconsin Innocence Project Takes on Day Care Provider’s Case to Challenge Conviction

The Chad Enderle Case


Dec. 23, 2013: CSI Effect: How an Iowa Murder Case Turned on a Fingerprint Found on a Cigarette Box

  • Read the story on Quad City Times’ website here.

Case updates:
Oct. 14, 2014: Iowa Prisoner Fights Conviction in Federal Court

The Jennifer Del Prete Case


Sept. 5, 2012: Tia’s Story
March 19, 2013: How a Murder Case Hinged on Expert Witnesses
March 19, 2013: For the First Time, The Medill Justice Project Records an On-Camera Interview with Del Prete in Prison
March 19, 2013: Medical Experts Offer New Theories About an Infant’s Cause of Death

Case updates:
Aug. 23, 2012: Illinois Attorney General Challenges Medill Innocence Project’s Access to Infant’s Medical Records
Aug. 28, 2012: Judge Bars Access to Infant’s Medical Records
Feb. 12, 2013: Federal Judge Opens Infant’s Records in Response to Medill Justice Project
Feb. 28, 2013: Illinois Prisons Allow Medill Justice Project to Record Video of Prisoners for First Time
March 25, 2013: Attorney Says Newly Discovered Evidence ‘Undercuts’ Conclusion About Infant’s Death
April 24, 2013: Federal Innocence Hearing Reopened After Medill Justice Project Uncovers New Evidence
April 30, 2013: Key Medical Evidence Turned Over in Shaken-Baby Syndrome Case
May 28, 2013: Decade-old Police Detective’s Letter Discovered by Medill Justice Project Leads to Attorney’s Motion for New Appeal
June 21, 2013: Del Prete Murder Conviction Questioned in Federal Hearing
Jan. 27, 2014: Federal Judge Rules No Reasonable Jury Would Find Day Care Worker Guilty
Jan. 29, 2014: Attorneys for Day Care Worker Ask for More Time in Federal Court
Feb. 5, 2014: Defense Attorneys for Day Care Worker Plan to File Claim in Federal Court that Prosecutors Withheld Evidence
Feb. 19, 2014: Attorneys for Day Care Worker File Claim in Federal Court that Prosecutors Withheld Evidence
Feb. 20, 2014: Prosecutors Request Time to Respond to Del Prete’s Claim that Evidence was Withheld
March 27, 2014: Illinois Attorney General Takes No Position on Del Prete’s Release from Prison
April 21, 2014: Del Prete to Be Released from Prison
April 22, 2014: When the Call Came: A Day of Hope for Del Prete
April 23, 2014: Coming Home: A Daughter Reflects on Her Mother’s Release from Prison
April 23, 2014: Even Amid Joy, There Is Unease: Del Prete’s Release from Prison Evokes Mixed Emotions
April 24, 2014: From Prison to Release: A Timeline
April 28, 2014: Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys Agree on Conditions of Del Prete’s Release
April 29, 2014: Brief: Del Prete Hearing Rescheduled
April 30, 2014: Del Prete Released from Prison
May 1, 2014: Photo Essay: First Moments of Freedom
May 1, 2014: Open Doors: Exclusive Video of Del Prete Emerging from Prison
May 1, 2014: MJP Students React: Reflections on the Del Prete Investigation
May 1, 2014: Del Prete Makes First Public Appearance After Being Released from Prison
May 8, 2014: Ripple Effects: Judge’s Ruling in Del Prete Case Is Already Having an Impact on Shaken-Baby Syndrome in the Legal Arena
Dec. 15, 2014: Life After: Months after being released from prison, Jennifer Del Prete discovers a hard truth about the confines of life on the outside

Documents: The Jennifer Del Prete Case

The Pamela Jacobazzi Case

Jacobazzi mug

Dec. 6, 2012: Images from a Murder Investigation
Dec. 11, 2012: Medill Innocence Project Probes 18-Year-Old Child-Abuse Case, Examining Medical Advances that Challenge Chicago-Area Day Care Owner’s Murder Conviction
March 19, 2013: For the First Time, The Medill Justice Project Records an On-Camera Interview with Jacobazzi in Prison

Case updates:
Nov. 21, 2012: Medill Innocence Project Seeks Police Records From ’94 Case: Denied Records, Northwestern Journalism Students Appeal to the Illinois Attorney General
Dec. 10, 2012: Update: FOIA Fight
Feb. 28, 2013: Illinois Prisons Allow Medill Justice Project to Record Video of Prisoners for First Time
April 25, 2013: Chicago-Area Day Care Owner Seeks Clemency from Governor
June 6, 2013: Judge Lifts Ban on Releasing Records from ’94 Case Sought by Medill Justice Project
July 31, 2013: Illinois Attorney General Orders Release of Records from ’94 Case
Oct.10, 2013: Day Care Owner Makes Her Case for Governor’s Clemency

Documents: The Pamela Jacobazzi Case

The Ariel Gomez Case

Gomez mug

Dec. 8, 2011: New Findings Challenge Chicago Man’s ’98 Murder Conviction
Dec. 8, 2011: Behind B18: Investigating the Ariel Gomez Case
Dec. 8, 2011: Video: ‘The Story Behind the Story’
March 14, 2012: Finding Paul Yalda: Students Track Down the Last Witness in the Pathfinder
March 14, 2012: The Last Boy: After a Murder, a Witness Spirals Down and Out in Arizona
March 14, 2012: Collateral Damage: Two Wives Cope with the Aftermath of a Murder

Case updates:
Feb. 13, 2012: Illinois Attorney General’s Office Intervenes in Students’ Public Records Request as Part of Murder Investigation

Documents: The Ariel Gomez Case

The Donald Watkins Case

Watkins mug

June 7, 2011: Investigation Raises Questions about Man’s Murder Conviction
June 7, 2011: Haunted Memory
June 7, 2011: The Story Behind the Story

Case updates:
Nov. 1, 2011: Watkins Appointed Attorney: New Findings Can’t Be Raised Unless There’s a New Appeal
Aug. 4, 2014: Special Cook County Unit Declines to Reinvestigate Chicago Man’s Murder Case

Documents: The Donald Watkins Case