June 28, 2012
Prosecutors to seek more DNA testing in Beaman case
By: Edith Brady-Lunnyl
A Champaign County judge was firm Thursday in his instructions to McLean County prosecutors seeking more forensic testing on evidence in the Jennifer Lockmiller murder case: provide specifics about the testing, or be prepared to move ahead with Alan Beaman’s petition to clear his name.
Beaman was convicted in March 1995 of killing his former girlfriend in her Normal apartment in August 1993. Beaman was attending Illinois Wesleyan University when Lockmiller, an Illinois State University student, was killed.
Beaman, 39, served about 13 years of a 50-year prison term before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his conviction in 2008. Charges were dismissed by prosecutors in 2009, but authorities said Lockmiller’s murder remained an open investigation.
On Thursday, Judge Jeffrey Ford told assistant state’s attorney Pablo Eves and assistant county administrator Hannah Eisner that careful scrutiny will be given to their anticipated motion for more DNA testing. Among concerns expressed by Ford and Beaman’s lawyers, Karen Daniel and Jeff Urdangen, is that it took 11 months for a Missouri lab to complete testing on evidence that was expected to be returned in about 60 days.
The testing was done in connection with Beaman’s certificate of innocence petition that, if granted, could entitle him to $170,000 from the state as an exonerated person.
In a June 5 report, Genetic Technologies Inc. disclosed that two male DNA profiles were located on vaginal swabs collected from the victim. The results excluded Beaman and three other men believed to be potential suspects at one time.
“I’m suggesting this be the last request for any DNA testing. I’m not going to hear motion after motion,” said Ford. Among the details the judge wants from the state is an estimate on how long testing will take and who will perform it.
Eisner, who previously served as the county’s civil lawyer, said the lab recommended further testing on a cord from an alarm clock and scissors — both believed to have been used to kill Lockmiller — and evidence from her clothing.
After the hearing, Eisner said the new tests could help identify the two male DNA profiles.
“”We want to complete the DNA process. We have these two profiles. Who are they? Additional testing could give us those answers,” she said.
Leaving the courthouse with his parents, Beaman said he is “a little frustrated with the delay.”
“It’s been four years since the Supreme Court unanimously reversed my conviction. I’m trying to move on with my life, but it’s difficult to let go of the past while this is hanging over me,” he said.
Ford did not set a new hearing date on the petition, saying he will wait until the DNA motion is filed and the defense has time to respond.
The new DNA results have been submitted to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board considering a clemency petition on behalf of Beaman, who also has filed a federal lawsuit against former prosecutors and police officers involved in the initial investigation, McLean County and the Town of Normal. He accuses investigators of ignoring evidence of another viable suspect and violating his civil rights. A December 2013 trial is scheduled in that case.