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DNA testing approved in Joshua Livingston murder case

Joshua Livingston in court
Clay Jackson
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Joshua Livingston of Danvers faces murder charges in connection with the death of Melissa Ostrom of Bloomington.

Cloth leggings removed from Melissa Ostrom's neck after her death are among items approved on Friday for forensic testing in the Joshua Livingston murder case.

Authorities previously said the 39-year old victim was strangled. Livingston faces murder charges in connection with Ostrom's death in April.

Melissa Ostrom's headshot
Tami Bicknell
Melissa Ostrom

Judge William Yoder also approved forensic testing of a press-on fingernail located in a stolen Chevrolet Camaro linked to Ostrom, and a sweatshirt similar to one Livingston was seen wearing before Ostrom’s death.

Livingston is acting as his own lawyer, a role he requested and was granted by Yoder earlier this week.

Prosecutor Aaron Fredrick asked that a protective order barring the defendant from sharing information in discovery documents be put in place. Fredrick cited examples of Livingston’s alleged violations of orders of protection in unrelated cases as the basis for the order.

Information on potential witnesses in other cases were shared by Livingston with third parties, said Fredrick.

Livingston responded that the state “has failed to demonstrate any ill will” related to the communications in other cases.

In approving the order, Yoder told Livingston “you are not to disseminate discovery any further than yourself.”

Livingston will have access to the 227 pages of documents and 600 items of electronic discovery compiled so far by the state.

Livingston is due back in court Oct. 18.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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