Thursday, July 10, 2008

UIS Innocence Project cited in Appellate Court opinion ordering hearing in Slover Case

New evidence developed by the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois at Springfield was cited as the basis for the 4th District Appellate Court's recent reversal of a lower court ruling and subsequent order that an evidentiary hearing be held in the Karyn Slover murder case.

Slover disappeared on September 27, 1996, after leaving work. Two days later, sealed garbage bags containing her dismembered body washed ashore at Lake Shelbyville. Her former in-laws and ex-husband were convicted of the crime by a Macon County jury in 2002 and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

In its decision, the Appellate Court ruled that at the original trial prosecutors presented misleading evidence in an effort to discredit a key defense witness, who testified she had seen the vehicle Karyn Slover was driving the night she disappeared. According to the witness, the car had tinted windows. During the trial, prosecutors elicited testimony from the vehicle's owner, a man whom Karyn Slover was dating at the time of her murder, that the vehicle did not have tinted windows.

Innocence Project Director of Investigations Bill Clutter credited the work of Mark Camper, one of his students, for developing new evidence that proved that the vehicle in question did in fact have factory-tinted windows, which corroborated the witness' testimony.

Camper was a student in a Wrongful Convictions class at UIS in the 2006 spring semester. "If the jury had believed the witness I'm convinced they would have found the Slovers not guilty," he said.

John McCarthy of the Office of the State Appellate Defender's office in Springfield represented the Slovers in their appeal. The case will be remanded to Macon County for an evidentiary hearing.

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project is affiliated with the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies at UIS and has been involved in the cases of several individuals, including Julie Rea Harper and Herb Whitlock, who have been wrongfully convicted. Students working with the project assist Clutter in the investigation of cases that may involve actual innocence.

For more information about the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, contact Clutter at 899-4353.

Download a pdf file summarizing evidence about the tinted car windows


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