Kirk Zimmerman wiped tears away after a McLean County jury acquitted him on Monday, May 6, 2019, of murdering his ex-wife, Pam, in November 2014. 

BLOOMINGTON — A judge has permanently sealed information discovered by Bloomington police during their investigation into the shooting death of Pam Zimmerman.

Earlier, Judge Scott Drazewski had decided to keep the material sealed until the conclusion of Kirk Zimmerman's murder trial. A McLean County jury acquitted Zimmerman last week of killing his former wife in November 2014.

In October 2016, defense lawyer John Rogers asked to file two motions under seal. The motions sought to bar introducing as evidence "sensitive, private and/or inflammatory information" about Kirk Zimmerman and others. 

The Pantagraph, WGLT and the Illinois Press Association appealed Drazewski's initial decision to keep the material sealed until after jury selection. The 4th District Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court supported the judge's decision.

The defense renewed its opposition, arguing jurors could hear about the information from media reports. The judge delayed a decision until the trial ended.

In a four-page ruling, Drazewski noted the documents were provided to the defense by the state during the pretrial discovery process and the state did not use the material during trial.

The information "might become a vehicle for improper purposes," said the ruling, issued Tuesday. Some material "would be embarrassing and an invasion of privacy to non-party individuals," according to the decision.

The jury deliberated about 7½ hours over two days before returning the not-guilty verdict against Kirk Zimmerman, 60, of Bloomington. 

During the five-week trial, the state contended a dispute over money was behind the slaying. The defense denied Zimmerman killed his former wife over what amounted to about $4,000 in child support.

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Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.