SPRINGFIELD — Alan Beaman has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to review his claim that Normal police inappropriately urged prosecutors to charge him with murder in the death of his former girlfriend, a charge the state later dismissed following his release from prison and exoneration.
Beaman served more than a dozen years in prison for the 1993 strangling death of Jennifer Lockmiller, whose body was found in her apartment near Illinois State University where she was a student.
Beaman, who now lives in Rockford with his wife and two children, was released from prison in 2008, following a decision by the Illinois Supreme Court that his conviction was based on tenuous evidence.
In his return to the high court, Beaman seeks review of a ruling by the Fourth District Appellate Court confirming a lower court's dismissal of Beaman's lawsuit against three former Normal police officers for malicious prosecution.
"Mr. Beaman deserves a day in court to seek justice from the men who maliciously robbed him of his youth through a dishonest and obviously biased investigation," states the petition filed Tuesday.
Beaman's lawyers with Chicago's Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center allege that former officers Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner, and Frank Zayas played a significant role in launching the prosecution against Beaman.
A clarification is needed from the court as to when police begin or continue a prosecution because the issue is critical in wrongful conviction cases, said Beaman's lawyers, noting that Illinois ranked second in the nation last year in exonerations.
In its decision, the appellate court found no evidence of pressure or undue influence by the officers on former McLean County prosecutor James Souk to file the murder charges. But such a standard ignores the decision by Normal police to focus on Beaman, a student at Illinois Wesleyan University at the time, as a suspect when another man with a history of violence against women and a link to the victim should have been more seriously considered, according to Beaman's lawyers.
Jurors would consider the other man "was a much more reasonable suspect since he was a steroid-abusing drug dealer who beat women, had sex with the victim and sold her drugs, could not compete a polygraph about the killing, and lied about his alibi," states the petition.
Thomas DiCianni, lawyer for the officers and the Town of Normal, was not available for comment Wednesday morning on the petition.
In their arguments in 2008 before the Supreme Court, Beaman's lawyers claimed that Freesmeyer doctored time trials of Beaman's alleged trip from Rockford to Lockmiller's apartment and withheld evidence of a second driving estimate that supported Beaman's innocence.
A federal court that dismissed a lawsuit against Souk, former State's Attorney Charles Reynard and Normal officers, found that a jury could have concluded that Warner "intentionally buried the polygraph report" related to the alternate suspect and Zayas allowed Beaman to be arrested before a thorough investigation was completed.
Beaman received a certificate of innocence from the state in 2013 and later a pardon from former Gov. Pat Quinn.