His wrongful conviction made him a multi-millionaire. Now, he’s headed back to the slammer… and it’s real this time.
Thaddeus Jimenez spent 16 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Later, he was exonerated, and awarded $25 million in a wrongful conviction settlement.
He’s now in jail awaiting sentencing. Jimenez plead guilty to 2015 weapons charges, and is looking at years in prison. Authorities say he squandered the entire $25 million settlement building up his old Chicago gang.
Thursday, prosecutors planned to play a a cellphone video. It was recorded by a fellow gang member, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jimenez is awaiting sentencing, along with his ally Jose Roman. Supposedly, the cellphone recording details the two allies driving around in Jimenez’s convertible Mercedes. Reportedly, Roman was cradling a .22-caliber rifle right next to him at the time.
NY Daily News reports:
A transcript of the August 2015 video entered into court records details Jimenez pulling up to Earl Casteel — a former gang member.
The multimillionaire didn’t give a warm greeting.
“Why shouldn’t I blast you right now?” Jimenez is recorded asking.
After a brief exchange, the transcript indicates Jimenez shot Casteel in each thigh before speeding away.
The video was first described last June when the pair pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Jimenez at the June 2016 hearing admitted he shot Casteel — identified in court papers as “Victim A” — and added it was because he wouldn’t join his gang, the Simon City Royals, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Prosecutors at the time were seeking north of seven years in prison for Jimenez and more than five years for Roman.
The alleged crime kingpin was arrested at age 13 in 1993 and charged with murdering a 19-year-old with whom witnesses said he had a fight with.
He was convicted a year later — and again in 1997 after the case was initially overturned — and spent the better part of his teens and 20s in jail, the newspaper reported.
Jimenez was eventually released from jail in 2009, and successfully secured a $25 million settlement from Chicago and the police department.
Now, prosecutors allege he invested a significant chunk of change in the Simon City Royals — throwing lavish parties and bailing buddies out of jail, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jimenez “received a sum that would be truly staggering to all but the wealthiest in this country. He could have used this money in any number of ways — to assist friends and family, contribute to the community, sponsor others wrongfully convicted or simply live in comfort for the rest of his natural life — instead, he chose to build a gang. He chose to acquire semiautomatic weapons,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this month.
His lawyer countered that Jimenez had little support once he got his settlement — half taken by his lawyers and “the streets would take the rest.”
“Unfortunately, while he had money, he had no guidance. No one suggested he seek financial planning, remain in counseling or that he leave town and make a new start,” the attorney, Steven Greenberg, wrote. “His new family became the gang, reconstructed from his childhood memory of his uncles, the kids he had run with before his first arrest, and the few people who had stood up for him in prison.”