Convicted of murder in connection with the 1993 murder of a student at Illinois State University, 40-year-old Alan Beaman was the beneficiary of a formal finding of innocence Thursday in Champaign County Circuit Court.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey Ford made the finding two weeks after McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers reversed his office's decision to fight Beaman's request for a certificate of innocence.
"I don't have the piece of paper. But the judgment has been entered. I have been declared innocent by the state of Illinois," Beaman said after the hearing.
Sentenced to 50 years in prison, Beaman served 13 years before his conviction was reversed in 2008 by the Illinois Supreme Court. He had been found guilty of murder for the strangulation death of ISU student Jennifer Lockmiller.
The pair had engaged in a stormy relationship, but Beaman contended that he was at his parents' Rockford home at the time of the killing. The high court ultimately reversed Beaman's conviction on the grounds that prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In addition to obtaining a formal declaration of innocence, lawyers for Beaman have filed a federal lawsuit in the Central District of Illinois alleging that authorities engaged in professional misconduct during the investigation and trial.
Beaman, now 40, married and a father, lives in Rockford, where he works as a machinist. Under the state law establishing a declaration of innocence, Beaman will be eligible for compensation, estimated to be roughly $175,000, for the time he spent behind bars.