In a case filled with legal twists, Gerald Reed was found not guilty Wednesday in the fatal shootings of a man and woman on the South Side more than two decades ago.

Reed had been convicted of the killings of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams and sentenced to life in 1994, but the Illinois Supreme Court tossed out Reed’s oral and written confessions in 2021 and granted him a new trial.

The same year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker commuted Reed’s life sentence in the killings to “time served” because of health risks he faced in prison during the coronavirus pandemic, and Reed was released from prison.

But the 1990 killings still hung over his head because the commutation didn’t keep prosecutors from retrying Reed.

In a four-day bench trial before Cook County Judge Steven Watkins, Reed’s lawyer Elliot Zinger argued that no physical evidence — DNA or fingerprints — linked his client to the slayings. He also said two witnesses against Reed at his original trial had lied.

“It was all speculation,” Zinger said.

Reed had said a detective kicked him so hard he broke a rod that had been placed in his leg by doctors after an injury caused by a gunshot wound — an accusation the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found credible.

On Wednesday, the judge found Reed not guilty on all counts.

Even if Reed had been convicted, he couldn’t have been sent to prison for the killings because he’d already served his time, Zinger said.

The lawyer said he will seek a “certificate of innocence” from the judge that would allow Reed to get compensation of nearly $200,000 from the state for the time he spent in prison.

“I’ve been at this for 12 years,” said Zinger, who handled the case with co-counsel Larry Dreyfus. “It’s been a long, long process to get vindication.”

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