Savory files another request for DNA testing

By Denise Jackson

November 14, 2012 Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 9:32 PM CDT

PEORIA,IL--Johnnie Lee Savory continues his quest for DNA testing nearly 35 years since he was convicted for the murders of his friend and sister. Attorneys for Savory filed a motion in Peoria County Court Wednesday asking for DNA testing, saying new technology would support his claims of innocence.

Flanked by attorneys, supporters and Northwestern University law school students, Johnnie Lee Savory returned to Peoria Wednesday to file a motion for D-N-A testing in his 1977 murder case.

"The truth is what matters and we want the truth. We don't want to continue with the same saga, year after year after year. But I'm prepared to fight as long as it takes," he said.

Savory was convicted twice in the murders of 19-year old Connie Cooper and her brother 14-year old James Robinson. He was retried after the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that police obtained his confession illegally. In the second case the prosecution relied on testimony from three siblings who later recanted their statements about Savory admitting to the murders. Savory's legal team wants DNA testing on 5 pieces of evidence, they say would support his innocence.

"It's been a 35 year long struggle. Dr. Martin Luther King said the ark of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice and it's time here in Peoria for it to bend towards justice in the case of Johnnie Lee Savory," said Steven Drizin of Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Savory was paroled in December of 2006 and has lived in Chicago. He was surrounded by several other men who say they were exonerated after DNA testing. He says it's disturbing that his efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

"In all these cases of DNA why wouldn't you allow the testing be used in my case? Why? That's the only question that should occupy the networks and the newspaper," he said.

Savory's legal team says advances in DNA technology could finally bring clarity, and closure to the controversial case.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.