ROCKFORD – A man originally sentenced to death who has spent 44 years behind bars in the slaying of a Rockford gas station attendant is scheduled to make his 33rd plea for freedom.
Calvin Madison, 66, appears to have a chance to win his release from Graham Correction Center after last year when five members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board – three short of the number needed to be granted parole – voted last year to release him. His co-defendant in the case, Thomas Ray Charles, was released from prison in 1986 after he was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.
Madison is scheduled to appear before a member of the Illinois Review Board on March 4, and the entire board is expected to decide on May 1 whether or not Madison should be released.
The Rockford Register Star reported Sunday that Madison's family has started to encourage people to write letters in favor of Madison's release and the family of the victim, 19-year-old John Hogan, is arguing against his release.
The slaying took place on Jan, 22, 1970, at the Gas-For-Less service station in Rockford. According to the newspaper, when Madison and Charles ordered him to hand over money, Hogan did as he was told and gave them about $100 in cash.
Then, Madison forced Hogan into a restroom, ordered him to his knees and shot him four times in the back of the head with a pistol.
"It was premeditated murder – there's no other way of looking at it," said Hogan's brother, Terry.
Madison, who was sentenced to death in 1970, was resentenced in 1972 to 75-100 years in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court suspended the death penalty in the United States in 1972. The court ultimately reinstated the death penalty a few years later.