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July 12, 2024

Edgar County Judge Denies Retrial In Fred Cox Sex Assault Case –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 25, 2016


The Court heard Motions for Retrial yesterday in the case of Fred Cox, who was convicted by a jury last December, but whose sentencing was delayed due to inclement weather this past February, and delayed further when DNA results became available. We wrote about this in this article and again in this one.

In the courtroom were family members from both sides, members of “Bikers Against Child Abuse”, and media.

There were two Motions for New Trial – the first one claimed the Court allowed testimony from a previous conviction when it shouldn’t have been allowed – this Court denied that motion. The second involved new evidence in the form of the DNA testing results. That motion was also denied.

State’s Attorney objected to the Motions stating they were time-barred due to being filed outside the 30 day window after verdict, Def Atty stated the clock doesn’t start until after the sentencing where the Judge affirmed the verdict and not when the Jury made its decision.

There were several lines of questioning different witnesses, one of which was the witness from the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, who testified about DNA Results and the difference between the words “indicated” and “identified”. If I recall correctly, “indicated” means there was (visual) evidence that the sample contained semen, but that it could have also been from another bodily fluid, and “identified” means that it was proven to be semen and not a different bodily fluid.

Defense argued this new DNA evidence could have changed the Jury’s decision, was in fact new evidence not available during trial, was only reported to them in February, and that they are not asking to overturn the Jury decision but rather asking for a new trial.

SA argued that this DNA was never demanded by Defense, they chose to go to trial without it, that there were four prongs to decisions on a new trial and this does not meet all four of them, and that defense has not met their burden as required in order to obtain a new trial.

Our question to both sides of this case, why on earth would you advance a sex crime case without DNA evidence when you know it’s coming?  How is justice served from either side of this matter when DNA results are not part of the trial when it appears both sides knew it was available?

The Court denied both Motions For New Trial, first because the testimony from prior conviction was allowed during trial, and that the new evidence of DNA results were not enough to warrant a new trial because the “chain of custody” of the alleged sample could not be determined, the sample could have been transferred from another source, that DNA results refer to a mixture of 2 males both of which “may” have matched another person not “did” match another person, the victim personally knew the defendant and testified she visually saw him, there was no other cases where this type of DNA evidence and the victim personally knowing the attacker, were cause to overturn a conviction or to warrant a new trial.

Is this a case that DNA evidence clears the convicted but procedural rules take precedence?

Sentencing will continue to a date to be set in October 2016. An appeal to the Appellate Court is likely in this case.
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1 Comment
  • Rory Steidl
    Posted at 16:34h, 26 August Reply

    The reason a case would be advanced to trial without key evidence examination results is – in my experience – because it’s Edgar County.
    Nothing new here & not surprising…unfortunately.

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