042017-blm-loc-2beaman

Alan Beaman arrives at the 4th District Appellate Court in April in Springfield. The court has ruled against him in a lawsuit that claims three ex-Normal officers conspired to frame him in the 1995 murder of his former girlfriend. 

DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH

SPRINGFIELD — Lawyers for Alan Beaman will ask the Illinois Supreme Court to review an appellate court ruling in favor of the Town of Normal and three former police officers accused of conspiring to frame Beaman on murder charges that were later dismissed against him.

"Alan Beaman suffered a terrible injustice. He spent his youth in prison for a crime he manifestly did not commit. We plan to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to review the decision," David Shapiro, one of Beaman's lawyers, said on Monday.

Thomas DiCianni, one of the lawyers for the town and its former officers said "on behalf of the officers sued in this case, we are very pleased that the Appellate Court agreed with our position. We hope this is the end of the litigation for all involved.”

Beaman was exonerated in 2008 of murder charges in connection with the strangling death of his former girlfriend, Jennifer Lockmiller, whose body was found in her apartment near Illinois State University in August 1993.

Beaman was convicted two years later and served about 13 years of a 50- year sentence before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the conviction based on what the court found to be "tenuous" evidence against the Illinois Wesleyan University graduate.  

Beaman, now married with two children and living in Rockford, also was given a certificate of innocence and pardoned by former Gov. Pat Quinn.

So far, efforts by Beaman's Chicago legal team to bring Beaman's accusations of malicious prosecution to court have been unsuccessful at both the federal and state court levels.

Several civil lawsuits filed since his release have been rejected in rulings that favor the town and the three former officers. McLean County and former prosecutors James Souk and Charles Reynard, who both went on to serve as judges, were dropped from federal lawsuits filed by Beaman.

Friday's ruling by the Fourth District Appellate Court leaves in place a ruling by Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Richard Broch Jr. to dismiss the lawsuit against Normal and now-retired officers Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner and Frank Zayas. Beaman alleged the officers failed to adequately consider evidence against another potential suspect, instead focusing all of their attention on Beaman. 

The appellate court found no evidence that the three investigating officers pressured or tried to influence Souk and Reynard's decision to prosecute Beaman. 

The court also rejected the most serious allegation made by Beaman's lawyers against Freesmeyer, including that he lied to a grand jury and provided prosecutors with false information from two time trials he performed to show how long it may have taken Beaman to travel from Rockford to Lockmiller's apartment.

As to Warner, the court concurred that Beaman's claims were insufficient to support an accusation that the former officer deliberately withheld inconclusive polygraphs results from a second suspect.     

 

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Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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