Parole denied for man convicted of 1960 murder
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Prisoner Review Board denied parole Thursday for the state’s longest-serving inmate, a 74-year-old man serving a life sentence for a 1960 murder at Starved Rock State Park.
The (Ottawa) Times reports (http://bit.ly/19Vf86h ) the board voted 7-7 on Chester Weger’s request for parole. He needed eight votes for the request to be granted.
The decision marked the 18th time Weger has tried and failed to be released from prison.
Weger was convicted in 1961 of killing Lillian Oetting, who was bludgeoned to death at the park.
He originally confessed to three murders, including Oetting’s two companions, Frances Murphy and Mildred Lindquist. Some of those confessions were in writing, and it was noted during the hearing that Weger also re-enacted the killings for police and reporters. But he later recanted his confessions. He was never prosecuted for the other killings because of cost issues.
Board member Donald Shelton, who laid out the facts of the case, said the only reason to release Weger would be on humanitarian grounds, due to his age and the length of time he has served. But he said he couldn’t vote in favor of granting parole.
“Chester Weger placed himself at the scene at the time these women were killed,” Shelton said. “He’s been lying about it 53 years. If he’s been lying 53 years, I can’t support him.”
Several people from the area who believe Weger is innocent also attended the hearing.
Charles Schiedel, a retired Illinois appellate attorney from Springfield who said a friend asked him to look into the case, said a halfway house in Springfield had been willing to take Weger in if he was released.
Oetting’s granddaughter, Diane Oetting, said she was grateful to those who voted against the request. She also asked that the public keep the families of the other victims and Weger’s family “in your heart and thoughts.”
Once called the “Starved Rock Murderer,” Weger is currently an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center.
Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.mywebtimes.com