Illinois man, 80, released in 1960 triple-killing
PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - After 60 years in prison, a convicted murderer walked out the doors a free man.
Chester Weger, 80, was an inmate at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center in Pinckneyville, Ill.
On Friday, February 21, he said he was grateful for those who believed in him and fought for decades to secure his release.
“I want to thank them for everything they done for me. I appreciate everything everybody’s done for me to try to get me out of here," Weger said.
He petitioned for parole more than 20 times over his 60-year incarceration. In November, Illinois’ prisoner review board deemed the now 80-year-old Weger what they call “an acceptable threat," and granted his release.
Weger was 21 years old in 1960 when he was arrested in connection with the deaths of three women. Their bodies were found in Starved Rock State Park badly beaten and bound.
There was no such thing as DNA testing back then, and early media reports say investigators linked Weger to the crime because he showed up to work at the park with scratches on his face, and the twine used to tie the women up was similar to twine Weger had access to at work.
Weger intitally confessed, but shortly afterwards he recanted his confession saying investigators coerced him to confess to the murders by threat of bodily harm.
He was convicted by a jury in 1961 of murdering 50-year-old Lillian Oetting.
Prosecutors chose not to try Weger for the two other slayings after he was sentenced to life in prison for Oetting’s killing.
Weger has maintained his innocence ever since.
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