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Illinois

'Starved Rock Murderer' Faces Parole Board For 20th Time

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Illinois Department of Corrections
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Update: The Illinois Prisoner Review Board again denied parole for Chester Weger at its hearing this morning. The vote was 9 to 4.

The man serving life in prison for the notorious “Starved Rock Murders” half a century ago had his annual date with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Life in prison meant something different back in 1961: freedom was possible someday, if the state’s Prisoner Review Board decided you were no longer a threat to others.

76-year-old Chester Weger and his supporters hoped the board would deliver a different verdict this time. Descendants of the three women from Riverside who were bludgeoned to death in a state park canyon got their wish: once again, his parole was denied.

In 1960, Weger was a 21-year-old father of two who occasionally worked at Starved Rock Lodge. He confessed to the murders, then later recanted; and he has insisted he’s innocent ever since. The three friends were on a hiking and birdwatching getaway at the park in Utica. The trial attracted national attention at the time because the crime was so brutal … and the women were considered “socialites,” married to Chicago business executives.

Weger fell one vote short of parole two years ago; but, last year, 9 of 12 board members decided he needed to go back to his cell in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. He's the longest-imprisoned inmate in Illinois.