In 1985 Nathson Fields, a 31-year-old member of the rival El Rukn street gang, was arrested, although he did not fit the description given by witnesses. In the lineup, Fields wore a short sleeve shirt that revealed an El Rukn tattoo on his forearm, which made him conspicuous in a lineup of men wearing long sleeves. The witnesses called to the lineup — who later testified to being Black Gangster Disciples — fingered him as the perpetrator.
Fields was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, and in a June 1986 bench trial, he was convicted along . Cook County Circuit Court judge Thomas Maloney sentenced him to death. But three years later there was a stunning development: Judge Maloney was convicted of federal charges that, among other things, he accepted a $10,000 bribe from a corrupt lawyer named William Swano, who represented rival gangsters.