Defense: DNA Could Reopen Ill. “Crime of Century”


Forty-four years after three Illinois socialites were bludgeoned to death, their bodies disrobed and dumped in a cave, the man convicted is returning to court to try to reopen what was known as Illinois’ “crime of the century.” The Chicago Tribune says Chester Weger, 65, who has spent most of his adulthood in prison, hopes DNA technology and a deathbed confession will persuade a judge to reopen the case. Weger’s attorney, Donna Kelly, wants hair found in the women’s clenched hands and blood splattered on Weger’s buckskin coat tested for DNA. She says the results could prove Weger is innocent. She cites a deathbed confession by a woman in a hospital to a Chicago police officer 20 years ago, and she says Weger’s confession was coerced.

A judge set a June 10 court date to consider the defense request for DNA testing. Prosecutor Joseph Hettel will fight the request because he does not think new tests will change the outcome and sees no cause to retry a 44-year-old case. “If our system were prone to that, there would be no finality,” he said. “And we’d be chasing those cases all over.”


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