Jury convicts ex-UI football player

Jury convicts ex-UI football player

URBANA — A Florida man accused of three rapes in Champaign County in the early 1990s is headed to prison for one of them for as long as 90 years.

A Champaign County jury Wednesday deliberated less than an hour before finding Steven Feagin, 42, guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault for a July 13, 1995, attack on a then 22-year-old woman in her apartment on West Illinois Street in Urbana.

It was DNA left behind in semen 17 years ago that linked him to the rape.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said on top of what he called "irrefutable science," the victim, a University of Illinois art student, helped police come up with a composite sketch of her attacker that looked strikingly like the former UI football player did when he was living here in 1995.

One of Feagin's attorneys, Assistant Public Defender George Vargas, argued that there may have been problems with the way the evidence was collected from the woman in 1995 and how it was stored by police.

The case went unsolved for years until DNA from a 2007 rape in Florida matched the DNA from the three Champaign County rapes that happened in 1993 and 1995. The Champaign County DNA was in a national database when the match was made.

Acting on a hunch that the rapist was a UI student from Florida, retired Urbana police Sgt. John Lockard, by then an evidence technician for the department, pored through UI student-staff directories to look for black male students from Florida.

He culled thousands of names to come up with Feagin as a suspect.

Because Feagin was charged with three separate sex acts involving the woman, now a 39-year-old art teacher from suburban Chicago, he will have to serve consecutive sentences of six to 30 years on each of the counts.

Judge Tom Difanis set sentencing for July 25.

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areader wrote on June 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

This is GREAT NEWS!  Give this scumbag the MAX!  What's the old saying, "you can run, but you can't hide!"  Good job by law enforcement officials!

gotchausob wrote on June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I want to thank all the law enforcement officials, especially former Sgt. John Lockard, for all their time and efforts in catching and convicting this disgusting serial rapist.I am sure that Feagin thought he could get away with it, and that the women would be afraid to report it. However, there was one brave women who testified and sealed his fate.Kudos to her.I hope he gets the maximum sentence available. I also hope that the University of Illinois is held accountable for not reporting or handling rapes as it should have been done. It could have stopped further rape from happening.


Gotcha!

mankind wrote on June 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

As he went through 38,000 names in the student directory I wonder how many times Mr. Lockard worried that he was wasting his time on a bad hunch. Here's to a true investigator and a real force for good in this world.  

OneDad wrote on June 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Ugh! Disgusting. But finally justice is served. This heinous man is off the streets after causing horrific torment on so many people. What also disgusts me is this is yet another star athlete who seemingly commited these crimes while playing football at an university. Knowing this can't be the only incident of misconduct by Fagin,  I question and challenge why these sorts of instances keep happening in our schools. In light of things like the Penn State issue this makes me sick. As a former student athlete and college graduate I am further sadden by our society's obvious defects. 

sahuoy wrote on June 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm

WTG !!! Job well done. Super. Brilliant. I hope the efforts made in resolving these cases opens more options into identifying suspects and apprehending those responsible more quickly. Perhaps as is required now with those arrested being subject to blood/dna samples given something of similar scope should be applied to any students with a past criminal record, juvenile or other should also submit blood samples to any colleges, schools as q requirement to admission. Perhaps only those from out of state since any in state students would already be in the data system. My heart and prayers go to the victims of Feagin as well all victims of rape and any violent attacks. Surely, progress for investigators and the general public can be retuned, tweaked and otherwise improved upon. Great job Lockard, Urbana crew and others not mentioned. Thank you for chasing it down and getting it right. Brilliant.

sahuoy wrote on June 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Looking into a carefully designed database of crimes committed by U of I students tied with out of state students versus in state students would be of use for future investigations in developing profiles, etc. Perhaps checking with the FBI or others which may already have such and access to for assistance. I'm sure U of I officials would never want something of the like becoming public or made known through the grapevine. At some point a line must be drawn between profits and public safety and I will always side with public safety far above and beyond profits. A safer world is a better world. A world grown from profits at the expense of safety leaves victims in its wrath or rather a monster ripe to be tamed and controlled.

rachamim wrote on June 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Yesterday I made a request to know more information about questionable evidence-taking methods. Namely, I am curious to know what the defense thinks was questionable about it? Can you please answer this? Hopefully this time my post won't be deleted. Thanks!