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Chicago nightclub stampede ruling overturned

Michael Tarm, Associated Press

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2004 file photo, Calvin Hollins Jr., co-owner of the E2 nightclub on Chicago's South Side where 21 people were killed during a stampede in 2003, speaks with reporters outside Cook County Housing Court in Chicago. In a ruling Thursday, April 4, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed an appellate court's decision tossing the guilty verdicts and vacating the sentences of Hollins and co-owner Dwain Kyles. Hollins and Kyles were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to two years for violating a judge's order to close the second floor of the club before the stampede. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois' Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that dismissed guilty verdicts against the owners of a Chicago nightclub where 21 patrons were crushed to death in a stampede.

The 2003 stampede occurred in a staircase from the second to first floor of the E2 nightclub. Co-owners Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins were convicted in 2009 of indirect criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to close the second floor.

An appellate court reversed that ruling in 2011, saying the judge's order regarding closure of the second floor had been unclear.

The high court justices on Thursday sent the issue back to the appeals court but stopped short of reinstating the owners' guilty verdicts and two-year prison sentences.