facebook
twitter
search
search

Last charge dropped in Illinois rape case

Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM

WAUKEGAN, Ill., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A new Illinois prosecutor has dropped the last charges against a man who spent 20 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.

Bernie Starks was released on bail in 2006 after DNA testing determined he was innocent of sexual assault. But Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller refused to dismiss a charge that Starks battered the rape victim, a 69-year-old Waukegan woman, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Mike Nerheim, who became state's attorney when Waller retired last week, said Wednesday he will ask a judge Friday to dismiss the battery charge.

Starks would not have had to go back to prison if he had been convicted of battery after a new trial because of the time he has served. But he told the Tribune in a telephone interview from a relative's house in Wisconsin he never felt comfortable knowing he was still charged with a felony.

"It's been 26 years of hell, the emotional strain and the distress and the pain that I have," he said. "Today, it was kind of just lifted."

Starks' lawyer had tried to force a new trial but lost court rulings on the issue.

The victim is now dead. She identified Starks as the rapist.

Waller argued after Starks was cleared of the rape that the woman might have had consensual sex with another man before the assault.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Greek referendum: 'No' vote leads early results, opinion polls
Russian resupply spacecraft docks onto ISS to deliver needed provisions
Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa targeted heavily in airstrikes
Maine reports first fireworks fatality since 2012 legalization
Prison escapee David Sweat returned to maximum security prison