On Friday, August 31, 2018, the commissioned painting of Mr. Cleve Heidelberg was unveiled at the Creativity Uncorked Studio of R. Rashad Reed. Within this painting, artist R. Rashad Reed captured the diverse vitality of life and living that was Mr. Heidelberg. The blending of primary colors and differing hues has created an imagery that invites the viewer to have a “conversation with the painting.” And yet it would not be a conversation of anger or despair, but a conversation of hope, persistence and joy. Joy. For many persons who knew Mr. Heidelberg, the word “joy” may be the least of the characteristics used to describe this gentleman; but for attorneys, Andrew Hale and Donald Jackson, capturing Heidelberg’s joy reflected the essence of this gentleman.
Consider this brief historical summary: Mr. Cleve Heidelberg was convicted in 1970 in a Peoria court of murder and sentenced to over 100 years in prison. He consistently declared that he was innocent, but the fact remained that Peoria County Deputy Sargent Raymond Espinoza had been murdered as he responded to an armed robbery. In the fullness of time, Attorney Andrew Hale who successfully worked on the case of Mr. Alstory Simon, having the judgement of Mr. Simon vacated, was asked by Simon to review the case of his friend, Cleve Heidelberg.
For approximately 2 years the attorney teams of Andrew Hale and Don Jackson, along with the investigative efforts of retired Peoria Police officer, Marcella Tepitz, and others reviewed evidence and worked to seek the release of Cleve Heidelberg. In the gathering of testimonies, it is believed by the investigative team that the actual person who was guilty of committing the murder confessed. Ultimately, Judge Purham granted a new trial and established a bond for Mr. Heidelberg of $500,000. This bond required 10% for him to be released. The $50,000 was raised. Although Cleve had to wear an ankle monitor, after serving 47 years in prison, experiencing health challenges, he was released.
On March 24, 2018, Mr. Cleve Heidelberg died in his apartment. With potential hearings pending, Cleve died a free man.
What shall be learned from the experience of Mr. Heidelberg? Perhaps the enduring power of right/innocence? Perhaps the importance of friends? Perhaps the value of believing, “against all Odds.”
In commissioning this painting, Attorney Hale has expressed the desire that the experience of Cleve Heidelberg be memorialized; that people of all ages will maintain a diligence for justice.
The painting is displayed at the Creativity Uncorked Studio, 815 SW Adams St., Peoria, IL. Discussions are being initiated to display the painting in an environment for optimal general audience viewing, as well as, the possibility of the sale of prints.