Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Judge rejects fingerprint testing in Slover case presented by Downstate Innocence Project

Six weeks after the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project presented its arguments for testing a latent fingerprint as a step toward overturning the murder convictions of Michael Slover, Jeannette Slover and Michael Slover Junior, a judge ruled that the print is not suitable for testing.

At the hearing in the courtroom of Assistant Circuit Court Judge Timothy Steadman on Feb. 1, project attorney Peter Wise presented a fingerprint expert who stated that a latent fingerprint found on a Bruce-Findlay Bridge railing over Lake Shelbyville was suitable for identification.

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois at Springfield, seeks exoneration for wrongfully convicted downstate inmates and works to reform the criminal justice system.

The Innocence Project was featured in a March 17, 2010, article in the Decatur Herald & Review.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking a Second Look

A 20 year old murder case could soon be re-opened. 18-year-old Melissa Koontz’s body was found near her hometown of Waverly in the summer of 1989.

Five people were sent to prison; two are still serving life sentences, Gary Edgington and Tom McMillen. Edgington confessed, but McMillen has maintained his innocence. It’s a plea that was finally heard by the UIS Downstate Innocence Project. They’re asking to take a second look at the case in hopes of proving McMillen is innocent.

“He was convicted based on a mentally retarded individual who claimed to be an eyewitness to the murder. None of what [that individual] said matched the crime scene,” says Bill Clutter with the Innocence Project.

The story was featured by WCIA-TV reporter Marissa Torres in an October 29, 2009.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Innocence Project to sponsor DNA workshop

A workshop on post-conviction DNA testing is being held at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Registration is still open to the public.

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project housed at UIS is sponsoring the workshop on introducing Touch DNA to Illinois courtrooms. The program features the defense team of Timothy Masters, convicted in 1999 of murder in 1987 in Fort Collins, Colo.

The article was featured in an October 28, 2009 edition of the State Journal-Register.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Experience with UIS Innocence Project directs student to law school

Erica Nichols graduated from UIS' Legal Studies department in May 2005. Now in her second year as a law student at Drake University, she says that her involvement with the university's Downstate Illinois Innocence Project helped shape her decision to enter law school.

An article in the January 7, 2008, Springfield State Journal-Register profiles Erica's work with the Innocence Project's investigation into the case of Herbert Whitlock.

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

Innocence Project instrumental in pardon for Harris

Keith Harris spent 22 years wrongly imprisoned for attempted murder. In January 2003, students working through the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at UIS were instrumental in successful efforts to win his release as exiting Gov. George Ryan granted Harris a full pardon.


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