December 10, 2011

Conviction Is Reversed in 1992 Rape and Murder

12-10-2011 Illinois:

The conviction of a man in the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old baby sitter, a case that his supporters have long believed was the result of a false confession, was reversed Friday night by an Illinois appellate court.

uan Rivera, who is 39 and serving a life sentence, had been convicted by three separate juries in the death of Holly Staker, who was baby-sitting two toddlers when she was killed in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan. Mr. Rivera confessed to the crime after four days of interrogation, but no physical evidence linked him to the crime.

In 2005, DNA testing proved that Mr. Rivera was not the source of the semen found inside Holly’s body. Nonetheless, he was convicted again in 2009 after prosecutors suggested that Holly was sexually active and that the semen may have come from someone else.

Mr. Rivera’s case was profiled in a Nov. 27 article in The New York Times Magazine.

Earlier this week, the prosecutor, Michael Mermel, who had convicted Mr. Rivera in his third trial, retired because of inappropriate comments he made about the reliability of DNA evidence and about alleged sexual activity by the victim. ..Source.. by NYT

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