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In this Feb. 5, 2013, file photo, Misook Nowlin appeals to McLean County judge Robert Freitag for new legal counsel during a hearing at the McLean County Law and Justice Center, Bloomington. Nowlin was convicted in 2012 of killing Linda Tyda and burying the body in a forest preserve in Will County.

BLOOMINGTON — A hearing on Misook Nowlin's claims that she was wrongfully convicted of murder was delayed by several months Wednesday after her newly appointed lawyer asked for more time to review her case.

Nowlin is serving 55 years for killing her mother-in-law, Linda Tyda, in 2011 and five years for concealment of a homicide.

Defense lawyer Ron Lewis asked for at least 90 days to review a post-conviction petition filed in December by Nowlin's former lawyer Jeff Brown. Lewis was appointed to represent Nowlin after Brown ended his contract with the public defender's office and accepted a position with a Bloomington law firm.

In her petition seeking a new trial, Nowlin alleges that McLean County jail inmate Tonya Bean provided false testimony in 2012 when she said Nowlin admitted luring the victim to Bloomington from her home in northern Illinois under false pretenses.

In an August 2015 affidavit, a second inmate, Tonya Findley, alleges that she saw bruises around Nowlin's neck when the two were housed at the jail. Nowlin told Findley the injuries were caused when Tyda tried to choke Nowlin during a dispute, according to the affidavit. 

Findley also claims that Bean admitted to lying on the witness stand in exchange for dismissal of pending criminal charges. Bean has challenged that accusation and maintains the charges were dropped because a witness refused to cooperate with authorities.

Nowlin told police Tyda died during a physical confrontation in which the defendant acted in self-defense. Tyda allegedly came to Bloomington in response to a phony request to perform translation services arranged by Nowlin to get her mother-in-law to meet with her.

Tyda was strangled after the two women argued over the anticipated break-up of Nowlin's marriage to Tyda's son, Don Wang. Nowlin later led police to a shallow grave in a northern Illinois forest preserve where she had buried Tyda.

Nowlin has also been identified as a potential suspect in a second homicide, the death of 3-year-old Christina McNeil in Bloomington. The child's father, Bart McNeil, is serving 100 years for murder.

McNeil, who ended a relationship with Nowlin the night before the child's death, has said publicly that authorities failed to fully investigate Nowlin's possible involvement in the toddler's suffocation death. 

Nowlin is due back in court April 24 on her petition for a new trial.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny


McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

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