Courtroom Jury Box

By CCN • February 26, 2018

By: Brian J. Vickers

            IDOC (Illinois Department of Corrections) inmate-Patrick Sykes, reached out Photojournalist Brian Vickers of CCNEWS Media, ‘to help him prove his innocence.’ Sykes is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for the 1997 brutal rape, and attempted murder of 9-year-old-Shatoya Currie, also known as ‘Girl-X.’  Sykes, along with Girl-X were both residents of Cabrini Green CHA Housing Complex.

            As a result of her attack, Girl-X, received severe brain damage due to the deprivation of oxygen. As a result Girl-X  is unable to speak, nor does she have use of her arms and not able to walk.  She will need assistance for the rest of her life.

            On April 3, 1997, after an extensive investigation, which included more and 400 interviews, Sykes was officially charged with the sexual assault of Girl-X. During his questioning, according to police, Sykes gave a detailed verbal and written confession. Despite the incriminating statements, Sykes continued to maintain his innocence. Sykes claimed that he was forced to give this confession to the police. Sykes also claimed he was interrogated by police for over 56 hours. During this period, Sykes claimed  he was deprived of sleep, food, and much-needed medication for his epilepsy.

            After 4 years, on April 4, 2001, the jury deliberated for 18 hours returning with convection.  Sykes was convicted of one count of predatorial-criminal-sexual-assault, four counts of attempted murder, and one count of aggravated kidnapping. Although Sykes wasn’t surprised by the guilty verdict, he made it clear that “he would appeal his conviction.”

            On July 3, 2001, during sentencing, Sykes was given a chance to speak before Judge Joseph Urso imposed his sentence. Standing there in the court room before the judge and others Sykes said“I’m not going to sit here and say, `please, please judge, don’t send me away. But I will say give me the benefit of the doubt,” Sykes said. “I am innocent. I did not beat and rape [Girl X]. I will continue to fight.” After Sykes completed his 20 second speech, Judge Urso imposed the maximum sentence allowed by Illinois law. Patrick Sykes was sentenced to a term of 120 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

            Sykes said in his recent letter to me “Do you know what it feels like to be innocent, and incarcerated?” Sykes also stated in his letter, he may be incarcerated but he is a man of integrity and he is willing to cooperate fully with CCNEWS Media to help him prove his innocence; furthermore, he would like CCNEWS Media to be a collaborative partner in getting his wrongful conviction overturned.

            Sykes’s high-profiled case, and incarceration, has taken an emotional and mental toll on him; and he doesn’t know how much more fight he has left in him. Sykes would like to get exonerated and released from prison so he can live his life and become a productive tax-paying citizen.

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I have functioned as a Business and Media Consultant over the past sixteen years and spent many years developing my capacity to function in our ever evolving use of technology, communication, education and training.