PEORIA — Lawyers for Alan Beaman agreed to dismiss claims against McLean County and former investigators with the county and town of Normal to narrow their efforts on three Normal officers who remain in the federal lawsuit.
Officers dropped this week from the lawsuit were retired McLean County sheriff’s Detective John Brown and current Normal police officer Rob Hospelhorn.
“We dropped Mr. Brown and Mr. Hospelhorn from the lawsuit in order to focus on the defendants who were responsible for the false charges against Alan Beaman,” said Beaman lawyer Locke Bowman.
Beaman, now of Rockford, served about 13 years in prison for the 1993 strangulation death of Jennifer Lockmiller before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his murder conviction in 2008, citing tenuous evidence.
Defendants in the lawsuit headed for a Dec. 2 trial in U.S. District Court in Peoria are the town of Normal, former Normal officers Tim Freesmeyer and Frank Zayas and current officer Dave Warner.
Previously dropped from the lawsuit were retired Judge James Souk, who was a prosecutor during the Beaman case and current Judge Charles Reynard, a former McLean County state’s attorney. Counsel for Beaman cited challenges with immunity issues as the reason for dropping Souk and Reynard from the litigation.
The federal lawsuit seeking unspecified damages has cost county taxpayers more than $520,000 in legal costs. Normal’s defense is being handed by lawyers for its insurance risk management pool.