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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 6: False Confessions (and the truth about how a person confesses to a crime they did not commit)

March 31, 202239:38

A common response from those who subscribe to the belief that Chester Weger is guilty is simply: "he confessed...why would an innocent man confess? Surely no innocent person would ever confess to attacking three women and bashing their faces in before dragging them to a cave in the woods." In 1960 a confession was a one-way ticket to life in prison or the electric chair, and to most people a false confession was as improbable as the existence of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.  But in the six decades that Chester Weger sat behind bars, the concept of the false confession began to make its way into the public consciousness. Patterns began to emerge that created profiles for who was likely to succumb to the pressure of interrogation and falsely confess to a crime. Science and particularly DNA also made it common to disprove people's confessions.   In this episode we discuss what makes an innocent person confess to a crime, what factors lead to a person reaching their mental breaking point, and then apply these learnings to Chester's case. Additionally, the team highlights some high-profile cases where average people confessed to gruesome crimes, only to be disproven later by DNA and other evidence.  A common theme in many people's statements who have falsely confessed is that they had reached their breaking point in that moment but planned to prove their innocence when they got their day in court.  As we look at the treatment Chester received at the hands of law enforcement, you should ask yourself…would you be able to withstand that same pressure? For more information, documents, photos, and other assets associated with and referenced in episode 6’s coverage of the case, visit andyhalepodcast.com.