The Illinois Innocence Project based at the University of Illinois Springfield has received a grant for DNA testing to help exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates.
The grant totals $641,000 and will be used over the course of two years. Of that, $200,000 must be used in DNA testing for two types of cases: potential eyewitness misidentifications and false confessions.
John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project, said DNA testing is often necessary for the cases he takes on. But it's costly, with the most basic test roughly $1,000.
“The problem is, many of these cases involve evidence that’s degraded. It’s very old so it’s degraded. When you’re dealing with degraded evidence you often have to start with the basic kind of procedures to get a DNA profile, but then they often have to go to second and third levels, and every level costs more.”
The grant will also be used to pay attorney fees and fund student employment, which is vital for the project.
The Illinois Innocence Project represents Barton McNeil, the convicted murderer from Bloomington whose case is featured on GLT's true crime podcast Suspect Convictions. New episodes air each Friday.
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