By Jim Hagerty
A lawsuit filed by Alan Beaman, the Rockford man who spent 13 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, has been dismissed.
The suit was brought in 2010 against former McClean County prosecutors and Normal police officers. Beaman claims officials conspired against him to make a quick arrest and secure a conviction after his girlfriend, Jennifer Lockmiller, was found strangled to death in her apartment in 1993.
The suit was dismissed last week.
Beaman was serving a 50-year prison term in 2008 when the Illinois Supreme Court overturned his conviction after DNA evidence proved he wasn’t the killer.
Lockmiller was attending Illinois State University when she was killed. Beaman was a student at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. He was arrested in 1994. Beaman maintains he was in Rockford visiting his parents when Lockmiller died.
His attorney, Locke Bowman, said he is reviewing options in the case but would not say if an appeal or future lawsuits would be filed. A number of defendants were already dropped before the complaint was dismissed.
McClean County officials were relieved by the ruling.
“We’re pleased with the decision but will wait to see if the plaintiff files an appeal,” Normal City Manager Mark Peterson told the Associated Press. “We know it’s not necessarily over yet.”
The state pushed for more than three years after his release to retry Beaman for murder, but were unable to rebuild a solid case.
Last April, during a 15-minute hearing in front of Judge Jeffrey Ford, Beaman was granted a certificate of innocence after McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Pablo Eves told the court the state was dropping all charges. A petition for clemency is currently pending in the office of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D).
As part of his exoneration, Beaman was awarded $175,000 from the Illinois Court of Claims. He is now married with two children and works as a machinist.
Lockmiller’s death remains an open homicide.
Posted Jan. 9, 2014