One of three people convicted of killing a mother, her two children and removing an unborn child from the mother's womb has been granted an evidentiary hearing in hopes of ultimately getting a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly granted Fedell Caffey the legal victory last Friday.
Caffey, who is serving a life term at Menard Correctional Center, has long maintained his innocence and has attempted to get several issues heard in state court. Among those issues are accusations of drug use by at least one former DuPage County prosecutor, and whether or not some witnesses or potential suspects got preferential treatment because they knew about that drug use.
"We had the allegations, we had the evidence to back it up. We had the documents, we had witnesses but we weren't able to put any of that into an evidentiary hearing attempting to get Mr. Caffey relief," said Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Richard Kling, who represented Caffey in those cases.
"Again, whether he did it or didn't do it is not the issue. The issue is whether he had a fair trial and for all of the reasons that we stated, and for all of the reasons that Judge Kennelly stated, at least in granting the hearing, it's pretty clear he didn't have a fair trial," said Kling.
Caffey, Annette Williams and Leverne Ward were each convicted in the November 1995 slayings. Debra Evans was nine months pregnant when she and her two children were killed. Her unborn baby was cut from her womb but survived.
A date for Caffey's evidentiary hearing will be set this week.
*An earlier version of this story did not make clear that the unborn baby survived extraction from the mother.