State’s high court rules man wrongfully convicted of murder can sue Town of Normal, police

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(NORMAL) – The Town of Normal and three retired police officers may wind up asking the state’s highest court to reconsider its decision ordering a trial alleging malicious prosecution in a decades-old murder case.

The Illinois Supreme Court on a 4-2 vote overturned an appeals court ruling, which sends Alan Beaman’s seven-year old lawsuit back to McLean County Court.

Beaman served 13 years of a 50-year prison sentence for stabbing Illinois State University student Jennifer Lockmiller and strangling her with an electrical cord at her apartment in Normal in 1993. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2008, and then-Gov. Pat Quinn pardoned Beaman in 2015

“We find that there are genuine issues of material fact,” the majority of justices ruled in a 42 page ruling issued on Thursday.

Attorney Thomas DiCianni, who’s representing the town and the police investigators, issued a statement after the ruling.

“The Court’s Decision is extremely disappointing. As the Seventh Circuit observed, the investigative activity involved in this case is standard in every investigation. This Decision threatens to expose police to lawsuits second guessing the difficult judgments they have to make in every major investigation. We are evaluating a motion asking the Court to reconsider this very concerning Decision.”

The Town of Normal and former police investigators Tim Freesmeyer, Dave Warner, and Frank Zayas are named as defendants in the suit.

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