The two were originally convicted based on evidence gathered by detectives under the supervision of disgraced former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. Burge has recently gained notoriety for allegedly torturing more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991 in order to force confessions.
The attorney general's office says prosecutors are now dropping all charges against 42-year-old Kitchen and 50-year-old Reeves in the murders of two women and three children.
Their case was based largely on Kitchen's confession, but he's long maintained that he was tortured into the admission. Reeves, too, had long proclaimed his innocence.
Kitchen says that Burge's detectives coerced him into confessing by beating him in the head with a telephone. He also says that he was punched in the face and kicked in the groin.
The men were granted a new trial, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan's deputy chief of staff says her office couldn't meet the burden of proof and the court required the men's release.
Burge is awaiting trial on charges of lying about torturing suspects. Allegations of forced confessions and torture have piled up against him in past years. The case against Reeves and Kitchen is only one of more than 20 that is being investigated by the attorney general's office.
Kitchen said that the news hasn't hit him yet. "I gave in hoping the judge and jury would see that I was telling the truth," he said.