Ex-Fox Lake cop convicted of murder seeks new round of DNA testing

Lawyers for a former law enforcement officer serving a life sentence for the 1992 killing of his former girlfriend are seeking a new round of DNA testing on evidence collected during the investigation into the slaying.

John Cumbee, 63, was twice convicted of murder in the May 5, 1992, death of Kathy Twarowski, a 21-year-old student at Oakton Community College. Her body was found at 6:45 a.m. the next day in the driver's seat of her Geo Tracker in Spring Grove, about 2 miles from her Fox Lake home.

Authorities alleged Cumbee, a former Fox Lake police officer, bludgeoned Twarowski with a fireplace poker in the Spring Grove home where they once lived together.

He was found guilty of murder in May 1993, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. A second jury found him guilty in 2002, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

A court motion filed May 25 in McHenry County by lawyers from the Illinois Innocence Project seeks court approval for the retesting of several items of evidence, such as fingernail scrapings, hairs, fibers and blood.

"Despite the ample amount of potential evidence that was collected and processed, none of the DNA associated with Ms. Twarowski's body or her Geo Tracker was statistically consistent with Mr. Cumbee's DNA," lawyers wrote in the motion.

Those items and others, including Cumbee's blood and saliva and items found in the Spring Grove home, were tested before "current advancements in DNA technology," the motion states.

"Over 30 years have passed since the murder of Ms. Twarowski and the collection of DNA evidence," lawyers wrote in the motion. "Mr. Cumbee seeks post-conviction forensic DNA testing on evidence where the technology for the testing requested was not available at the time of his trial."

Attempts to reach the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office Friday for comment were not successful, but attorneys for Cumbee wrote in court documents that prosecutors are not opposed to the additional testing.

Their request is set for a status hearing in court Tuesday.

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