Fourteen years is a long time for an accused felon to be on the run. The span of time presents challenges for the most seasoned prosecutors and investigators. Over time, memories of witnesses and accomplices fade, if not lapse. Police evidence moved from room to room or building to building could be lost or deteriorate if not handled properly.
If time is not on the side of law enforcement, is it on the side of a fugitive who choose to flee, rather than face the music?
A Veteran Cop Comes Home
Eddie Hicks was a 30-year Chicago Police Department veteran scheduled for trial on June 9, 2003. Almost two years after his arrest over his purported role as a kingpin for a “rip-off crew,” Hicks vanished, leaving his then co-defendants behind. With fresh evidence and recent recollections, they received severe, multiple-year sentences for their role in the shakedowns.
After 14 years running from an international manhunt, Hicks, now 68, is coming home after the FBI found and arrested him in Detroit.
Hicks worked in the CPD narcotics section from 1992 to 1997. Prosecutors claim that he abused his position to “raid” specific drug dealers, stealing narcotics to sell to their competitors and confiscate money and drugs.
Arrests never occurred. Instead, the group supposedly gathered their bounty and returned to the police station to divvy up the “proceeds” from the faux raids.
Hicks was first arrested after a drug dealer turned informant lured the ringleader to a location that the FBI fashioned to look like a drug house.
During his court appearance in U.S. District Court, he waived his right to an attorney and agreed to return to Chicago for the long awaited trial. Depending on Hicks’ inevitable plea, the challenge now before prosecutors is resuming their pursuit of a conviction. They may be facing an uphill battle that comes with reassembling evidence and recalling witnesses.