Citing DNA link to Holly Staker murder, man seeks new trial in 2000 North Chicago slaying
Attorneys for a Chicago man who claims he was wrongfully convicted of a grisly North Chicago murder in 2004 said he will formally request a new trial in July.
Marvin Williford, 43, also is asking a judge to block the city of Waukegan from destroying evidence surrounding the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker, for which another man served 20 years in prison before his exoneration in 2012.
Williford attorney David Owens said evidence from the Staker slaying could affect his client's case, because DNA samples found on the murdered girl matched those recovered on a wooden board tested after killing of Delwin Foxworth in 2000. Williford is serving 80 years in prison after he a jury convicted him in 2004 of breaking into Foxworth's in North Chicago residence, beating him with a wooden board, tying him up with duct tape, then setting him on fire.
"The city of Waukegan asked a federal judge to vacate an order to preserve evidence in the Staker case," Owens said Tuesday. "That raises serious questions for us."
Owens said he intends to file a formal request for a new trial after an expert completes a final written analysis of DNA testing.
Foxworth, who was 39 at the time of the attack, initially survived and told police he was held at gunpoint by three men during a robbery. He lived for two more years, but died from his injuries in August 2002.
Williford was arrested in February 2003 and convicted of the murder a year later. He has maintained his innocence throughout.
Owens has been sending evidence to test for DNA in an effort to prove Williford was not involved in the crime. During that testing, a DNA sample pulled from the board matched DNA recovered from the Holly Staker murder in 1992.
Staker was found stabbed, raped and strangled inside a Waukegan apartment where she was baby-sitting.
Juan Rivera, formerly of Waukegan, spent two decades behind bars after he was convicted by three separate juries. However, DNA evidence recovered from the scene eventually exonerated him, and he was released from prison in January 2012. No one has faced charges stemming from the murder since.
Owens said no DNA has been recovered from the Foxworth attack that matches Williford.
"At the minimum, the evidence shows that (Williford) is entitled to a new trial," Owens said.
The case is scheduled to return to court July 21.