His reputation was tainted for a heinous crime he’s always said he didn’t commit, and now at the age of 83, Chester Weger is one step closer to potentially clearing his name for good.
“It has been long time coming,” his defense attorney Andy Hale said.
The crime occurred in 1960 when three women were found beaten to death at Starved Rock State Park.
Weger, a young dishwasher at the lodge, originally had confessed to the slayings, but later recanted that confession. He was convicted and ultimately spent nearly six decades in prison.
He was freed on parole in 2020, but the murder conviction is still on his record.
Now, his defense attorney says DNA testing of a hair found on one of the victim’s gloves did not match his client's, saying that it belongs to someone else.
“Taking the DNA evidence combined with everything we have learned, (it) absolutely conclusively proves he is innocent,” Hale said.
An evidence hearing was conducted Monday afternoon in Ottawa, with supporters of Weger waiting outside.
Hale says the next step to getting the conviction overturned is a meeting with the Will County State’s Attorney's Office, where he says he will make the case for Weger's innocence.
“I have asked them for the opportunity to meet face-to-face, (and to) make my case for why I believe he is innocent and why his conviction should be vacated,” Hale said.
Hale also wants the hair submitted to a national DNA database to see if there is a match.
“I would love to prove who really did it and end this nonsense – once and for all,” he said.