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Noteworthy Podcasts

The Starved Rock Murders with Andy Hale

In the winter of 1960 three women were found brutally murdered in a cave at the Starved Rock State Park. After months of dead ends, a manhunt ensued that ultimately pinned the crime on a 21-year-old dishwasher at the Starved Rock State Park Lodge, Chester Weger. In spite of contradictory physical evidence and under immense pressure from the police, Chester confessed to the crime. He has spent the last 60 years in prison, maintaining his innocence to this day. Join Andy Hale, a civil rights attorney who specializes in investigating wrongful convictions, as he dives deep into parts of the case that have been left out of previous coverage. As Chester Weger’s attorney, he is actively investigating the case and has won the right to test DNA from the crime scene for the first time in 60 years. If Chester is innocent, this will become the longest wrongful conviction case in United States history. This limited series podcast will re-examine the story you think you know, provide real-time case updates, including DNA testing, and access to documents and photos previously unreleased to the public, to uncover the truth of what really happened in Starved Rock State Park over half a century ago. ... More...

EP 10: The Trial of the Century, Part 1

April 28, 202247:13

When Chester Weger went to trial in 1961, it was heralded by the media as the “Trial of the Century.” Throngs of people, ranging from hungry journalists to curious citizens, lined up outside the LaSalle County Courthouse in Ottawa, Illinois to try and get a coveted seat in the gallery. The quiet Illinois Valley community had never seen a spectacle of this kind. The press, armed with giant cameras and blinding flashbulbs, waited for the police to pull up and escort the accused into the courtroom. The Weger family had pooled what few financial resources they had to hire Chester an attorney – John McNamara. But even with a fine lawyer like McNamara, Chester was facing a prosecution, with its vast resources, that was interested in nothing less than the death penalty, execution by 50,000 volts. Three women were dead, and someone needed to pay. The public needed their pound of flesh and the State needed to put this case to rest. After a three-week trial, the jury returned its verdict: Guilty. But the question that haunted jurors long after the trial had ended was whether or not the right man had paid…Those doubts were evidenced by the fact that the jury elected not to sentence Chester Weger to the electric chair, as the State had demanded…Just in case they got it wrong.  It’s likely his resolve to prove his innocence that has kept Chester alive all these years. For 62 years and counting, Chester Weger has been waiting for that evidence, that full picture, to finally emerge and definitively reveal that YES. . . they got it wrong and real killers have never been brought to justice. Andy and Whitny dive into the trial of the century and discuss what the jurors were never told. For more information, documents, photos, and other assets associated with and referenced in episode 6’s coverage of the case, visit andyhalepodcast.com.