Free At Last: The Exoneration of Alan Beaman
March 30, 2009
In 1994, Alan Beaman was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend and spent 13 years in prison for the crime.
Through the work of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the conviction last May, citing the weakness of the evidence against Beaman.
A panel of those involved in the effort to clear Beaman's name recently reunited at the law school to discuss their experiences with the case.
• Alan Beaman was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1994 despite the lack of any direct evidence of his guilt in Lockmiller’s murder. Although the circuit and appellate courts upheld the conviction, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction on May 22, 2008, finding that the trial prosecutor had violated Beaman’s rights.
• Karen Daniel and Jeffrey Urdangen, senior staff attorneys at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, represented Beaman.
• Robert W. Cook, a retired justice of the Fourth District Appellate Court, dissented both times when Beaman’s case came before the Appellate Court and was affirmed. His dissent was cited favorably by the Illinois Supreme Court when it reversed Beaman’s conviction in 2008.
• Tony Daniels, retired at the rank of lieutenant from the Normal Police Department, participated (as a detective) in the early stages of the Jennifer Lockmiller homicide investigation. After Beaman’s conviction, Daniels publicly said that there was not enough evidence against Beaman and other potential suspects had not been eliminated.
• Ronald Safer, a distinguished former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and now a managing partner of Schiff Hardin LLP, is a member of the Center on Wrongful Conviction’s advisory board. Safer provided a prosecutorial perspective on the case.