Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Back in action: Catch-up (24): Illinois; Johnnie Lee Savory; He has received a pardon in a 1977 Peoria double murder case - and is now seeking a ruling to establish his innocence. Fresh DNA evidence will be central to this process. The Journal Star.

    STORY: "Johnnie Lee Savory receives pardon in 1977 Peoria double murder case," by reporter Fred Zwicky, published by the Journal Star on Hanuary 15 2015.

    PHOTO-CAPTION: Convicted of double murder at the age of 14 in 1977, Johnnie Lee Savory of Peoria, holding a picture of himself as a child, spent most of his life behind bars, until being released on parole in 2006. As one of his final acts in office, former Gov. Pat Quinn pardoned Savory, meaning his record will be expunged or purged. Savory and lawyers with the Center on Wrongful Convictions still are seeking a legal ruling asserting his innocence. In this 2012 photo, Savory and his team announced they had filed a motion requesting advanced DNA testing on some evidence from his trial.

    GIST: "As one of his final acts in office, former Gov. Pat Quinn pardoned Johnnie Lee Savory, convicted of killing two teenagers nearly 40 years ago. The governor’s move on Monday means 52-year-old Savory’s criminal record will be expunged or purged of his 1981 double murder conviction for the June 1977 deaths of Connie Cooper, who was 19, and her brother, James Robinson, 14, at their Peoria home. Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, called the pardon a “good day for the courts” and a “testament to how Johnnie Lee has lived his life since his wrongful conviction was commuted eight years ago.” “We are delighted to have his record expunged and we are absolutely going to go forward to prove his innocence. This motivates us more,” Tepfer said..........Savory served nearly 30 years in prison after being convicted of fatally stabbing the two teens. Prosecutors had said Savory, then 14, lost his temper while practicing karate with Robinson, killed him and then killed Cooper. Tepfer reiterated that his legal team would continue to press for a legal ruling asserting Savory’s innocence. The question, however, is how will that play out in Peoria County Court, as there is a pending matter with DNA testing. Savory’s attorneys sought and obtained permission to retest items from the 1981 trial with modern DNA testing. Brady believes those results, which came back a few months ago, are inconclusive. Tepfer disagrees and said he “intends to demonstrate that in court.”

    The entire story can be found at:

  •  http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150113/News/150119658


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