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Ill. News Editor Held in Contempt

September 9, 2000

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) _ A judge held a newspaper editor in contempt Friday after she refused to turn over unpublished photos related to a murder case.

Macon County Circuit Judge James A. Hendrian ordered (Decatur) Herald & Review editor Peggy Bellows held in jail until the photos are released, but placed a stay on the order pending the newspaper’s planned appeal. Bellows remains free.

The photographs were subpoenaed in the case of Karyn Hearn Slover, whose dismembered body parts were found floating in a lake two days after she disappeared on Sept. 27, 1996. Her ex-husband and his parents were charged with murder in January.

Defense attorney Joseph Vigneri requested several unpublished photos from the newspaper, including some taken during a 1998 police search of a used car lot formerly owned by the parents.

Vigneri contended the photos may help back up his theory that police compromised the site during their search.

Last week, Hendrian ordered the Herald & Review to hand over the photos.

But in a statement to the judge, the newspaper said it would not waive its right to free speech protections.

Herald & Review Publisher Michael Gulledge said Vigneri failed to show he exhausted all other means to show the search site was contaminated and must do so before the newspaper is forced to give up its photos.

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