Alan Beaman formally declared innocent in Lockmiller killing

2013-04-25T14:00:00Z 2013-07-12T20:06:58Z Alan Beaman formally declared innocent in Lockmiller killingBy Edith Brady-Lunny |

CHAMPAIGN — Alan Beaman was taking nothing for granted Thursday as he walked into a court hearing where he expected to be finally declared innocent of the 1993 murder of Jennifer Lockmiller.

“At least I will have an official declaration, and I’m hoping that it will relieve some of the underlying fear and the reaction from the public. But the realist in me knows that the naysayers will say nay no matter,” said Beaman, who was released in 2008 after serving 13 years and three months in prison for the strangulation death of his former girlfriend.

The Illinois Supreme Court had reversed the McLean County jury verdict, calling the state’s case against the then-20-year-old Illinois Wesleyan University student tenuous. It took about five more years of legal maneuvers, hearings and evidence testing, however, to get the state to officially declare him innocent.

Judge Jeffrey Ford granted Beaman’s certificate of innocence in a 15-minute court hearing that opened with McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Pablo Eves confirming that the county was dropping its three-year opposition to the petition.

Surrounded by his wife, Gretchen, and parents, Barry and Carol Beaman, Beaman offered a low-key reaction to the judge’s decision.

“I have officially been declared innocent by the state of Illinois. It’s a relief. Praise God. It’s a great day,” Beaman told reporters after the hearing.

Carol Beaman also waited for the final ruling before believing that her son would be exonerated by the state.

“At every turn we thought he would be released, but it’s taken a lot of turns to get here,” she said.

The ruling will allow Beaman to collect about $175,000 from the state court of claims as an exonerated person.

In deciding earlier this month to end the state’s opposition to the innocence petition, McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said the homicide investigation remains open.

Chambers’ decision follows the return of new DNA tests on vaginal swabs taken from the victim that produced two unidentified male profiles. Beaman and three other known previously considered male suspects were excluded from the results.

For Karen Daniel and Jeff Urdangen with the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law, the innocence petitions ends more than a decade of legal wrangling on Beaman’s behalf.

The evidence at Beaman’s trial that he drove 140 miles each way from Rockford to Bloomington at high speeds to kill Lockmiller and return home before his mother could detect his absence fell far short of what was needed to convict Beaman, said Daniel.

“He was expected to prove he wasn’t and couldn’t have been in Normal at the time of the murder. There was simply no evidence,” said Daniel, adding that the state’s closing remarks at the trial comparing Beaman to Adolf Hitler were “out of control.”

Beaman, now 40, works as a machinist to support his family, which includes a 9-year-old stepdaughter and 9-month-old daughter.

Still ahead for Beaman is a federal lawsuit in which he has accused former State’s Attorney Charles Reynard, former prosecutor James Souk, four police officers, McLean County and the town of Normal with violating his civil rights and prosecutorial misconduct.

Beaman also is seeking clemency for the murder conviction. Unlike the innocence petition, clemency could insulate Beaman from ever facing charges again in Lockmiller’s death.

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(13) Comments

  1. dru gash
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    dru gash - January 07, 2014 2:19 am
    Im glad you got out. I played the guy who was probably the killer..

    its the interrogation scene.. lol..
  2. drjmj23
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    drjmj23 - April 26, 2013 11:05 pm
    Isn't our legal system somethin' ?! over 13 years wrongly imprisoned and can get $175,000 for all the pain, heartache, defamation, suffering, stripped of rights, and so on. That's all??? That comes to about $13,500 per year. And if he would have been free and working, what would he have made? To me this one is worth millions!!
  3. BC
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    BC - April 26, 2013 6:06 am
    Probably unless he as offended again and they caught him on that charge.
  4. watchfulleye93
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    watchfulleye93 - April 25, 2013 10:31 pm
    Alan I am so happy for you and your family!!!!! I only hope that those who led to your wrongful incarceration are provided with equal or greater punishment!!!!! Hopefully greater since most of those involved took an oath to serve in the best interest of justice!!!!!
    Report Abuse
    LEDATIWYL1 - April 25, 2013 10:19 pm
    The truth will set you free. Now, who killed this beautiful women who never had a chance to show the world her talents.
  6. Centurion2001
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    Centurion2001 - April 25, 2013 7:43 pm
    The declaration of innocence for Alan Beaman has been a long time in coming. It does not erase the 13 years spent in prison when wrongfully convicted. It does not give closure to the Lockmiller family knowing the killer of their daughter has been free for all this time. It does not give people confidence in the justice system other than knowing there are people and organizations out there like the Center for Wrongful Conviction from Northwestern University, that scrutinize cases to ensure the wrongfully convicted get released. This was not a case about DNA evidence. It was a case about law enforcement being given marching orders to charge someone and were not interested in evidence based policing nor prosecutors who were interested in truth. The Alan Beaman story is not over. Ron Harper, Professor of Criminal Justice, Rockford IL
  7. mamahop8
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    mamahop8 - April 25, 2013 5:50 pm
    Alan deserves more money, and reimbursement to everyone who financially helped him through this nightmare. The state should have to pay based on the cost attorneys are paid per hour, payable to the Bluhm Legal Clinic.
  8. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - April 25, 2013 3:45 pm
    Khrizt- didn't this happen already like 2 or 3 times? Poor guy. Sheesh! And so what's the story- is the real killer still at large?
  9. retired2
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    retired2 - April 25, 2013 3:20 pm
    Good job, Alan! You are finding your way through this mess, one step at a time.

    Thanks to Tony Daniels of Normal PD for speaking the truth, and the Bluhm Legal Clinic for fighting to resolve an extreme injustice.

    Lots of people are pulling for you, Alan, and cheering you on. We will continue to watch this unfold.

    The best of luck to you and your family.
  10. Abyss
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    Abyss - April 25, 2013 1:21 pm
    Good going Alan. I never thought you did it. You accomplished the impossible fighting against a ravenous bunch like Reynard and Co.
  11. marthae
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    marthae - April 25, 2013 1:20 pm
    I never thought he was guilty either. The case was a disgrace to the McLean County court system. Beamon was an extremely talented theatrical set designer at Wesleyan. Maybe with this money he can return to his art.
  12. everyoneknows
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    everyoneknows - April 25, 2013 1:19 pm
    Almost 20 years of hell, thank God it is over for him. Good luck Alan I wish you nothing but the best.
  13. Kaci1231
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    Kaci1231 - April 25, 2013 12:20 pm
    Never did I ever think He was guilty. Now maybe he can live his life in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you Alan.
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