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Beaman Files Petition With Supreme Court

Alan Beaman and mother
Daisy Contreras
NPR Illinois
Alan Beaman with his mother at the steps of the Illinois Supreme Court in Springfield in 2018.

Alan Beaman returned to the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday in his ongoing pursuit of a jury trial against the Town of Normal and three former police officers involved in the 1993 murder investigation that led to his 12-year stint in prison before the state’s high court reversed his conviction.

Beaman was sentenced to 50 years in prison in the strangulation death of his former girlfriend Jennifer Lockmiller. The victim was an ISU student with a history of drug use and a rocky relationship with Beaman.

The request to file an appeal with the Supreme Court follows a December ruling by the Fourth District Appellate Court in which Beaman’s claim that he has a right to a trial was denied for a second time. The case was sent back to the appellate court by the Supreme Court for a review of the appellate court’s position that Beaman failed to show authorities engaged in a malicious prosecution.

In a statement issued by his legal team legal team, Beaman said, “I’ve spent my adult life fighting for justice and accountability. I’m not stopping now.”

Beaman now lives in Rockford with his wife and two daughters.

Beaman has long argued that Normal police and McLean County prosecutors worked together to build a  case which led to his wrongful conviction. Now-retired police detectives Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner and Frank Zayas spearheaded the investigation, according to Beaman’s lawyers.

A jury should hear Beaman’s claims and determine what, if any, consequences the town and its former officers should face for their alleged misconduct, said one of Beaman’s lawyers, David Shapiro, with the MacArthur Justice Center.

“We are hopeful that the Illinois Supreme Court, which has twice ruled in Alan’s favor, will hear the case again and finally allow a jury trial to go forward. Nothing can right the wrong that was done to him or remove the stain it has left on the history of our state, but the closest thing to it is a jury of Illinois citizens finally hearing the case,” Shapiro said in a statement.

Lawyers for the town and the three detectives have denied allegations that evidence was withheld from lawyers working on Beaman’s case at the time. Sufficient probable cause existed to arrest Beaman, the town’s lawyers contend.

Supporting Beaman in the lawsuit filed in McLean County in 2014 are 12 high-profile former prosecutors who signed an amicus brief in favor of a jury trial on the issues. Former Gov. Jim Thompson, former Illinois Attorney General Tyrone Fahner and former State Police Director Jeremy Margolis were among those who signed the brief.

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