Convicted Starved Rock killer’s 1960 confession shows he did it, special prosecutor says

He says in a court filing he’s acted impartially in fighting Chester Weger’s effort to prove his innocence in the 1960 killings of 3 west suburban women. Weger wants Glasgow removed as special prosecutor.

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Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

AP

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow says he believes the original confession of convicted “Starved Rock killer” Chester Weger in the bludgeoning deaths of three women from Riverside in 1960 and dismisses Weger’s claim he was pressured into falsely confessing.

In a court filing, Glasgow says he’ll fight efforts by Weger’s lawyers Andrew Hale and Celeste Stack to remove him as the special prosecutor opposing Weger’s ongoing effort to persuade a LaSalle County judge he’s innocent.

The bodies of Lillian Oetting, Frances Murphy and Mildred Linquist were found outside a cave at Starved Rock State Park after they went on a hike at the popular getaway for Chicagoans that’s about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. In a sensational trial in 1961, Weger was found guilty of killing Oetting. Prosecutors said he acted alone.

Weger, 84, spent more than 60 years in prison. He was paroled in 2020 for good behavior in prison but his conviction wasn’t overturned.

Chester Weger, then 80, in 2020 as he left Pinckneyville Correctional Center in southern Illinois.

Chester Weger, then 80, in 2020 as he left Pinckneyville Correctional Center in southern Illinois.

Sun-Times file

In 1960, Weger quickly recanted his confession. According to his lawyers, Weger’s claim of innocence is supported by new tests of the crime scene evidence, a review of the police files and interviews. His lawyers say they believe a relative of one of the women plotted to kill the women — and that the killings were carried out by mobsters.

Weger’s lawyers say Glasgow has acted unfairly in opposing testing of evidence from the scene of the killings. LaSalle County Judge Michael Jansz has allowed testing of some of that evidence.

In a court filing last week, Glasgow said he doesn’t have a conflict of interest that would bar him from continuing to be the special prosecutor in the case.

“The implication that [Glasgow] would cover up the conviction of an innocent man is disturbing at best and flies in the face of this state’s attorney’s long administration,” the filing said.

Glasgow said in the court filing that a “proper chain of custody” is lacking in the decades-old evidence Weger’s lawyers have submitted for testing. He pointed to a DNA test that showed that a hair found in 1960 on one of Murphy’s gloves wasn’t Weger’s.

“The state believes [Weger’s] confession — and does not agree that a hair found on a glove that does not match defendant shows he is actually innocent,” the filing said. “No one knows where that hair came from.”

Chester Weger, then 21, during a re-enactment in Starved Rock State Park’s St Louis Canyon after he confessed Nov. 17, 1960, to killing three women from Riverside.

Chester Weger, then 21, during a re-enactment in Starved Rock State Park’s St Louis Canyon after he confessed Nov. 17, 1960, to killing three women from Riverside.

The Daily Times, Ottawa via AP

Glasgow, who’s been Will County state’s attorney for 27 years, is best known for his successful 2012 prosecution of former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson for killing his third wife Kathleen Savio after their 2003 divorce. That case attracted international attention. Peterson was later convicted of plotting from jail to have Glasgow killed.

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