What Happened To Chester Weger After He Was Released From Prison?

Chester Weger was last a free man in 1960, before he was labeled the "Starved Rock Killer" after confessing to murdering one of the three bodies of women found in one of Chicago's most famous parks (via Chicago Magazine). Jailed the next year, Weger would serve 59 years of prison time, over 21,000 days behind bars, despite maintaining his innocence and that his one confession was coerced and quickly recanted. In February 2020, Weger was finally granted parole, and at the age of 80, saw the outside world for the first time in nearly six decades.

Though Weger was fascinated by everything from smartphones to McDonald's, and was able to embrace his children for the first time since they were toddlers, Weger has maintained what he wanted to do once on the outside since the 1970s: prove his innocence. In October 2020, Weger had assembled a team of experienced pro bono lawyers determined to use DNA evidence to exonerate the man who had become Illinois' longest-serving prisoner in history.

Weger's team can study evidence

Chester Weger and his team of lawyers later won approval to run DNA tests on evidence gathered from the crime scene of the Starved Rock killings, including hair, string, and cigarette butts (via Chicago Sun Times). Weger's attorney says evidence on the hair could exonerate his client, who would then seek to have his conviction vacated. Prosecutors objected to the request, claiming that the evidence wasn't stored properly.

It's unknown when the findings of the DNA will be made available, but it could be key in deciding Weger's fate. Much of the original evidence against Weger was his job at a lodge where the victims were staying, and his own confession to one of the three killings to police. Even though he has been released on parole, he hasn't been absolved of the murders; he was just released for being a model prisoner during his time behind bars. For now, Weger continues the fight to prove his innocence, something he's been planning to do for nearly 50 years.