A group of prominent attorneys and legislators is asking Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich to order DNA testing in the case of a Peoria man who served 30 years in prison for a crime they believe he didn’t commit.
Led by five former U.S. attorneys, best-selling crime novelist John Grisham and the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions, the list of supporters represents years of effort on the part of the accused man to secure the DNA testing that he says will clear his name.
Johnnie Lee Savory was 14 when he was arrested in 1977 and later convicted of the double-murder of his friend James Robinson, 14, and Robinson’s sister, Connie Cooper, 18.
At the time, DNA-testing technology was not yet available. But Savory argues that testing hair and blood samples taken at the time of the crime will not only clear his name, but identify the true culprit.
Savory’s supporters concede that a governor’s mandate to test DNA may be their last and best chance to clear Savory’s name. And for Savory—paroled and working in Chicago since December 2006— that is what his fight is all about.
Supporters are focusing on evidence presented during the trial, including a bloody pair of pants seized from Savory’s home and head hairs found in the victims’ hands.