Thursday, February 27, 2014

State agrees to some DNA testing in 1998 murder case

Lawyers for a Bloomington man convicted in 1999 of killing his daughter said Wednesday they will expand their request for DNA testing of evidence they believe will point to the child's real killer: a woman serving 55 years for killing her mother-in-law in 2012.

Barton McNeil is serving 100 years for the 1998 death of his 3-year-old daughter, Christina.

McNeil's lawyers with the University of Illinois Springfield’s Downstate Innocence Project said they will file an amended petition soon seeking to add a window screen from the victim's bedroom to the list of items they believe should undergo forensic testing.

McNeil has maintained his innocence in the 1998 death, claiming his former girlfriend, Misook Nowlin, was responsible for smothering the girl. Nowlin was convicted in 2012 of strangling her mother-in-law, Wenlan Linda Tyda, during a September 2011 dispute in Bloomington.

Defense lawyer John Hanlon asked Judge Scott Drazewski for a quick turnaround on a hearing date to finalize the initial testing.

Noting that McNeil is represented by the Innocence Project -- a group that assists people with innocence claims -- Hanlon said "we would like to keep things moving for his sake."

The story was reported by the Bloomington Pantagraph on February 27, 2014.

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