BLOOMINGTON — Saying newly released DNA test results point to two previously unknown suspects in the 1993 Jennifer Lockmiller murder, lawyers for Alan Beaman are calling for the McLean County state’s attorney’s office to drop its opposition to his certificate of innocence claim in the case.
Beaman was released from prison in 2008 after the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his murder conviction in the death of his former girlfriend, an Illinois State University student. The state dismissed the murder charges in 2009 and he served 13 years of a 50-year sentence.
Beaman is excluded as a source of the DNA found on three items of the victim’s clothing and the cord of an alarm clock believed to have been used to strangle her, according to Karen Daniel, who along with Jeffrey Urdangen from the Bluhm Legal Clinic at the Northwestern University School of Law, represents Beaman.
The male DNA is consistent, however, with profiles developed in tests conducted earlier this year on a vaginal swab from the victim.
“The emerging DNA is consistent with Ms. Lockmiller having been sexually assaulted and murdered by one or more individuals not previously the focus of the police investigation,” Daniel said Thursday.
The Chicago legal team asked State’s Attorney Jason Chambers to end the state’s challenge to the innocence claim that if granted would make Beaman eligible for $170,000 in state compensation as a wrongly convicted person.
The new evidence “further strengthens Alan Beaman’s already extremely compelling claim of innocence,” said Daniel.
Chambers’ office took exception to Daniel’s assertion that the new evidence shows Lockmiller was sexually assaulted. Testimony from a pathologist at Beaman’s trial indicated that the victim had not been sexually assaulted, said Assistant State’s Attorney Pablo Eves.
The state’s conclusion from the DNA is that at least one other individual may have had sex with Lockmiller before she died.
“However, the current results do not mean that this person is the killer. The current results do not mean that Mr. Beaman is innocent. Please recall, Mr. Beaman’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon at the scene of the crime,” Eves said in a statement.
Beaman’s lawyers have long argued that his fingerprints were found on Lockmiller’s alarm clock because he stayed there during their relationship.
“The murder of Ms. Lockmiller remains unsolved,” Eves said.
For the most part, three other men who dated Lockmiller and were interviewed by police also were excluded in the testing, said Daniel.
One of the three men cannot be excluded as a possible contributor to DNA found on the victim’s belt and underwear, “but the very limited available information would also include about one in three males in the general population,” said Daniel.
The scientific testing also was performed on scissors used to stab Lockmiller, but no male DNA was found on the item, according to the defense.
The newest report was provided to Daniel on Tuesday at a hearing in Champaign County on Beaman’s petition to be declared innocent of the charges.
Urdangen had harsh words for Chambers’ predecessors Charles Reynard and Bill Yoder and the state’s previous opposition to DNA testing. The latest round of testing was requested by the state last year as part of Beaman’s innocence petition case.
“What, if anything, did Mr. Yoder do to investigate the murder in the years after the Supreme Court vacated this wrongful conviction? It is ironic and tragic that efforts to seek the truth through modern science were initiated only after Alan filed his civil action.”
Still pending is a federal lawsuit Beaman filed against Reynard and James Souk, who recently retired as a judge, and several police officers who worked on the murder investigation. Beaman also has asked Gov. Pat Quinn to consider granting him clemency.