SPRINGFIELD -- Chester Weger, the so-called Starved Rock killer, asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2005 to either pardon him or commute his life prison sentence to time served. The governor’s answer came this month: No.
By ADRIANA COLINDRES
STATE CAPITOL BUREAU
SPRINGFIELD -- Chester Weger, the so-called Starved Rock killer, asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2005 to either pardon him or commute his life prison sentence to time served.
The governor’s answer came this month: No.
Blagojevich spokesman Gerardo Cardenas said Thursday the governor denied Weger’s clemency request on June 4. Cardenas said no further information was available.
Weger was convicted of beating Lillian Oetting to death in 1960 at Starved Rock State Park near Utica. Her body was found in St. Louis Canyon, along with the bodies of Frances Murphy and Mildred Lindquist. The three suburban Chicago women had been vacationing.
Authorities have said they believe Weger, who was working as a dishwasher at the park, killed all three women with a large tree branch. He was convicted only in Oetting’s murder.
An assistant defender with the 3rd District Appellate Defender’s Office represented Weger two years ago when he made his clemency request to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Weger’s attorney told a review board panel that police beat and threatened Weger until he confessed.
Prosecutors, however, said they had a solid case against Weger. Following its customary procedure, the review board sent a confidential recommendation to the governor about Weger’s clemency petition.
Robert Agostinelli, deputy defender in the appellate defender’s office, could not be reached for comment Thursday. But on Wednesday, he said he hadn’t heard yet if the governor had made a decision about Weger’s clemency request.
Ken Tupy, legal counsel for the Prisoner Review Board, said Weger must wait a year before he may petition again for clemency from the governor.
Separately, Weger will be up for parole in August 2008, Tupy said. Weger’s most recent effort to win parole came in 2005, when the review board unanimously rejected it.
Weger, 68, is an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections Web site.
Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.