December 18, 2012
Beaman's lawyer optimistic after latest round of DNA testing
By: Edith Brady-Lunny
A lawyer for Alan Beaman was upbeat Tuesday about the results of DNA testing that she believes support his claim of innocence to the 1993 killing of an Illinois State University student.
“From my limited review today, it appears that the results clearly advance our case,” said Karen Daniel, one of Beaman’s lawyers with the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law.
Daniel was given the DNA report by McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Pablo Eves, who is handling the state’s opposition to Beaman’s certificate of innocence petition, at the start of a hearing Tuesday in Champaign County court. Assistant County Administrator Hannah Eisner, who previously worked as a prosecutor, also is working on the case.
Lawyers on both sides declined to disclose specifics of the DNA test results on evidence collected from the apartment where Jennifer Lockmiller’s body was found. Beaman and Lockmiller had recently ended a rocky relationship before her death.
Daniel said she will review the report with co-counsel Jeff Urdangen.
The DNA report could provide Beaman with the second set of results that apparently favors his innocence claim. In June, Beaman and three other men considered suspects at the time were excluded as contributors to evidence from a vaginal swab taken from Lockmiller.
The swab did, however, contain DNA from two unknown males.
The optimistic interpretation of the recent DNA report by the defense did not stop prosecutors from asking for a trial date next summer on Beaman’s certificate of innocence petition. Champaign County Judge Jeffrey Ford will hear testimony and review transcripts from the 20-year-old case.
Attorneys will coordinate a date for the trial that is expected to take several days.
Commenting after the hearing, Eves said “there’s useful information in the report” that will be part of the trial.
The certificate of innocence petition was filed three years ago by Beaman as one prong of his effort to clear his name of the murder conviction. If granted, the innocence petition could entitle Beaman to $170,000 in state compensation for the 13 years he spent in prison before his conviction was reversed in 2008 by the Illinois Supreme Court.
He also has pending a federal lawsuit against retired judge James Souk and current Judge Charles Reynard, who were prosecutors during Lockmiller’s homicide investigation. A clemency petition also has been filed by Beaman.