© 2023 WSIU Public Radio
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Attorney: DNA evidence from a hair may clear Chester Weger of guilt in 1960 Starved Rock murders

Chester Weger, Otto Weger, Rocky Weber
Charles Knoblock/AP
Chester O. Weger, accused slayer of three Riverside, Ill., matrons, is shown during his trial at Ottawa, Ill. Jan. 30, 1961. (AP Photo/Charles Knoblock)

The attorney representing convicted murderer Chester Weger said new genetic evidence may help clear his client of the 1960 murders of three women in Starved Rock State Park.

Lawyer Andy Hale said a hair found on the left index finger of victim Frances Murphy's glove does not match Weger's DNA.

"Combined with everything else we have, we now have an overwhelming case that Chester Weger had nothing to do with the Starved Rock murders," Hale said.

Hale said the hair is significant because the tip of Murphy's left index finger was removed postmortem. Hale said the test shows the hair originated from a man who isn't Weger.

Hale wants to submit the hair run through the FBI's CODIS database to search for a potential match. An Oct. 28 status hearing will determine if that search can proceed.

"We would love to get closure. We would love to find out who actually committed these murders," he said.

Weger, 83, was sentenced in 1961 for the murders. He served more than six decades in prison before he was paroled in 2019.

He also wants to meet with the Will County State's Attorney's Office to argue Weger's murder conviction should be vacated.

Hale said he's also prepared to file a post-conviction petition with the court or file a petition for executive clemency with the governor's office.

We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with NPR donors across the country – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year!