Afternoon Edition: Feb. 21, 2020

Today’s update is a 4-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Chester Weger after his arrest in 1960.

AP

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a4-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

We’re enjoying plenty of sunshine today, with a high of 38 degrees and a low tonight around 24 degrees. Here’s some great news to kick off your weekend: Tomorrow we’ll see a high of 47 degrees, and Sunday will be even warmer, with a high near 51 degrees. So don’t be surprised if you see someone strutting around your neighborhood in shorts. In Chicago. In February.

Top story

Man paroled in Starved Rock killings walks out of prison after nearly six decades behind bars

The longest-serving inmate in the state walked out of a southern Illinois prison this morning after proclaiming his innocence from behind bars for decades.

Chester Weger, 80, told reporters outside Pinckneyville Correctional Center that it was “wonderful to be out” after being “locked up for 60 years for something I never done.”

Weger, who suffers from asthma and arthritis, was paroled in November by a vote of 9 to 4 after years of rejections.

He was serving a life sentence for the murder of Lillian Oetting, 50, one of three women from Riverside killed while hiking at Starved Rock State Park on March 14, 1960. Weger wasn’t tried in the deaths of her friends Mildred Lindquist, 50, and Frances Murphy, 47.

Weger confessed to the killings after months of denying he did it, then recanted days later. His attorneys presented evidence that he was told he would die in the electric chair if he didn’t confess.

Diane Oetting, a granddaughter of Lillian Oetting, pleaded with the parole board to keep him in prison.

Frank Main has the full story.

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Interim Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck, seen here during a recent Sun-Times interview, has dispatched S.W.A.T. officers to the CTA as a temporary step to get a handle on a recent spike in violence.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

More news you need

  1. SWAT team officers will be riding CTA trains starting today as the Chicago Police Department works to get a handle on mass transit violenceWhat to expect on your commute.
  2. Federal prosecutors asked a judge to reduce the prison sentence of a key player in the kickback scandal that took down former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, citing his “substantial assistance” to another investigation. Here’s what we know.
  3. Chicagoan Delores Tomorrow made it four weeks on “The Biggest Loser” before being sent home. She told us what she’s taking away from her time on the show.
  4. Interim Chicago police Supt. Charlie Beck says he’s furious that a man accused of shooting an officer in 2018 was allowed to go free on bail. Read his full interview with reporter Frank Main.
  5. The FBI has kept tabs on plenty of people over the years, including a host of celebrities with ties to Chicago or the state of Illinois, like Ernest Hemingway, Muhammad Ali, Hugh Hefner and Walt Disney. Why they attracted the FBI’s attention.
  6. Some of us in Chicago have known Dwyane Wade’s name since he was a standout at Richards High School in Oak Lawn. But his new documentary, “D. Wade: Life Unexpected,” gives us unprecedented access to his journey on and off the court. Richard Roeper’s review is out today.
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A bright one

Before it became known as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, many Chicagoans may never have heard of Wuhan, a sprawling city of 11 million in central China sometimes referred to “the Chicago of China.”

But for a few local families, Wuhan will always be the city where they met the children who would become a part of their lives forever.

Twenty years ago, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter joined the dozen families as they traveled to Wuhan to complete their adoptions. They were among nearly 1,000 adoptions of abandoned or orphaned children in China arranged by Chicago-area clinics from 1995 to 1999.

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Christine Casper and her newly adopted daughter Claire, then 2, during a trip by Chicago area families to Wuhan, China, in 1999.

Provided

News of the outbreak brought back memories of the city to Christine Casper of Barrington, who adopted a 2-year-old girl there in November 1999.

Wuhan “was so nice,” Casper said. “There were so many people on bikes and rushing around carrying things. The architecture was [so] different. It’s a big city.”

Reporter Matthew Hendrickson caught up with some of those families 20 years after they travelled to Wuhan.

From the press box

The Cubs and White Sox have decided who their top-of-the-lineup guys will be, with Kris Bryant leading off for the North Siders and Tim Anderson or Yoan Moncado in the No. 1 slot for the South Siders. Both teams start spring training games on Saturday.

Comcast customers are still waiting to find out if they’ll be able to watch the Cubs this spring.

Former Bulls player Ben Gordon opened up about dealing with his mental health and his suicide attempt.

And we previewed this weekend’s top high school basketball games. 

The Cubs and White Sox begin their spring training schedules this weekend; the Fire heads to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy in a preseason match: the Bulls have back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday; and the Blackhawks take on Nashville on Friday night and Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

Your daily question☕

With balmy weekend temperatures on the forecast, what will you be doing to take advantage of the warmer-than-average weather? Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you about your pets in honor of Love Your Pet Day. Here were some of the sweet fur baby photos you shared with us:

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