Convicted killer seeks DNA testing

Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:01 AM

PEORIA, Ill., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- An Illinois man who spent years in prison for killing two people as a teenager says modern DNA technology could exonerate him.

Johnnie Lee Savory and his attorneys from the Northwestern University law school's Center on Wrongful Convictions plan to file a motion Wednesday in Peoria County seeking testing of evidence from the 1977 killings.

"The new technology not only could prove our client innocent, but it also could identify the actual killer," said Laura Nirider, a lawyer from the center.

Two groups represented by leading Chicago law firms plan to file friend of the court briefs. One will be filed on behalf of former Gov. James R. Thompson, former U.S. Sen. Adlai E. Stevenson III and former U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Sullivan and Dan K. Webb and the other on behalf of Illinois convicts cleared by DNA testing.

Savory, 14 when he was arrested, was convicted twice of killing James Robinson Jr. and Connie Cooper, both teenagers, who were stabbed in their Peoria home. The first conviction was reversed by a state appeals court that threw out an alleged confession, and the second, his attorneys say, was based on information from informants who said he had admitted the killings and later recanted.

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