On August 28, 1993, Jennifer Lockmiller, a 22-year-old student at Illinois State University, was found dead in her apartment in Normal, Illinois. She had been strangled with a clock radio cord and stabbed in the chest with scissors. The autopsy results indicated that she was murdered on August 25, shortly before noon. Fingerprints recovered from the clock radio belonged to her current boyfriend Michael Swaine, her ex-boyfriend Alan Beaman, and an unidentifiable source. Beaman was arrested the following May.
In March of 1995, Beaman was convicted of Lockmiller’s murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. The prosecution argued that Beaman’s motive for killing Lockmiller was jealousy. Although Beaman was 120 miles north of Normal in Rockford, Illinois on the morning and afternoon of the murder, there was no evidence regarding his location at the time of the crime.
During the years following his conviction, Beaman and his attorneys from Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions presented evidence that supported his innocence. At the original trial, the prosecution withheld information regarding a person identified as John Doe, a viable suspect who had previously been involved in a romantic relationship with Lockmiller. Doe lived less than two miles away from the scene of the crime, had been charged with domestic battery and had a history of abusing his girlfriend. He had supplied Lockmiller with drugs and claimed that she owed him money. Other details regarding the timing of Beaman’s activities had also not been disclosed at trial. This information could have initially eliminated Beaman as a suspect because the prosecution’s evidence against him was based on the fact that all other suspects were accounted for at the time of the murder.
Beaman's petition for post-conviction relief was denied by the McLean County Circuit Court, and his lawyers appealed that decision. On May 22, 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned his conviction because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence that would have been likely to have changed the jury's verdict of guilt. On January 29, 2009, prosecutors dropped all charges against Beaman, who had served 13 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit.
In 2012, DNA testing revealed the presence of two previously unknown male suspects. In 2013, Beaman was granted a certificate of innocence and received $175,000 from the Illinois Court of Claims. In January 2014, a federal civil lawsuit that Beaman filed against police and prosecutors involved in his case was dismissed. In March 2014, Beaman filed a lawsuit in McLean County Circuit Court seeking damages, which was dismissed in June 2016.
In January 2015, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn pardoned Beamon based on actual innocence.
— Center on Wrongful Convictions