His reputation was tainted by a heinous crime he always said he did not commit, and now, at the age of 83, Chester Weger is on the verge of clearing his name for good.
“It’s been a long time coming,” his attorney Andy Hale said.
The crime took place in 1960 when three women were found beaten to death at Starved Rock State Park.
Weger, a young dishwasher at the lodge, initially confessed to the murders but later retracted that confession. He was convicted and ultimately spent nearly six decades in prison.
He was paroled in 2020, but the murder conviction is still on his file.
Now his defense attorney has said DNA tests from a hair found on one of the victim’s gloves did not match those of his client, claiming it belonged to someone else.
“Taking the DNA evidence combined with everything we’ve learned, (it) absolutely conclusively proves he’s innocent,” Hale said.
An evidence hearing was held Monday afternoon in Ottawa, with Weger supporters waiting outside.
Hale says the next step in having the conviction overturned is a meeting with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he says he will plead for Weger’s innocence.
“I asked them for the opportunity to meet face to face (and) argue why I believe he is innocent and why his conviction should be overturned,” Hale said.
Hale also wants the hair to be submitted to a national DNA database to see if there is a match.
“I’d like to prove who really did it and end this nonsense – once and for all,” he said.