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SPRINGFIELD - The clemency petition for Chester Weger, convicted in one of three Starved Rock murders 46 years ago, was denied this week by Gov. Rod Blagojevich two years after it was filed.

Weger, 68, was sentenced to life in prison under 1961 sentencing guidelines. Present guidelines call for a maximum of 60 years in prison for first-degree murder of one person, but that could be doubled for a crime deemed especially heinous.

Then a dishwasher at the state park's lodge, Weger was convicted of stabbing hiker Lillian Oetting, 50, of Riverside, on March 16, 1960. The woman's friends, Mildred Lindquist and Francis Murphy, both from Riverside, also were killed, but LaSalle County prosecutors chose not to try him in their deaths at the time.

An appellate public defender made the appeal for commutation or clemency, citing the fact the evidence would never lead to a conviction in today's courtroom. A request for DNA testing as part of the appeal was dropped two years ago because the evidence was mishandled over the years, the defender's office said.

Weger has been denied parole more than two dozen times since 1972.

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