Lawyers: Jury should hear wrongful murder conviction case
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers for an Illinois man exonerated of murder charges say he deserves a chance to present his case against a town and three former officers to a jury.
Attorneys argued Thursday before the Illinois Supreme Court regarding Alan Beaman’s lawsuit against the town of Normal and retired officers Dave Warner, Tim Freesmeyer and Frank Zayas, the Pantagraph reported .
Beaman served more than 12 years of a 50-year sentence on murder charges related to the 1993 death of Jennifer Lockmiller, who was his ex-girlfriend and a student at Illinois State University. The state’s high court reversed his conviction in 2008 after deciding the evidence wasn’t convincing.
“What should have been some of the best years of my life were taken from me,” he said
Beaman is asking the court to reverse a lower court’s ruling dismissing his lawsuit, which alleges the town and officers conspired to frame him.
The town and officers “stained our system of criminal justice through intentional wrongdoing, and a jury deserves the chance to make it right,” said David Shapiro, one of Beaman’s lawyers.
Shapiro accused Freesmeyer of lying to a grand jury by allegedly withholding information of a second suspect, a man who had dated Lockmiller and had a history of domestic violence. Justices also questioned the town’s lawyer, Thomas DiCianni, about Beaman’s allegation that Freesmeyer never included results of one of the time trials conducted to determine if Beaman could have traveled to Normal from his home in Rockford within the period of time police believe Lockmiller was killed.
“It didn’t make it into the police report,” DiCianni said, adding that the exclusion was not intentional.
DiCianni said allowing a jury to consider the accusations could set a negative precedent for police, calling it “terrible public policy.”
It could be several months before the state’s high court makes a decision on whether to grant a trial.
Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com