A woman convicted of luring her mother-in-law to Bloomington for an ultimately fatal confrontation says in a new court filing that a key witness lied during her 2012 trial.
Misook (Nowlin) Wang, 52, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Wenlan Tyda. Authorities said Wang lured Tyda to Bloomington under phony pretenses, then strangled her to death and moved her body to a shallow grave in a Will County forest preserve. Wang pleaded guilty to concealing a homicidal death and claimed she accidentally killed Tyda in self-defense. Wang was convicted of murder and is now serving a 55-year prison sentence.
In a Dec. 29 court filing, Wang argues that “falsified testimony” from Tonya Bean during her 2012 trial allowed prosecutors to “present compelling evidence of motive and intent which was otherwise non-existent.” Wang and Bean were in jail together in McLean County.
Wang argues Bean lied when she testified that Wang told her she planned to kill Tyda, admitted choking the victim, and talked about receiving insurance money after Tyda’s death, according to Wang’s post-conviction petition. Wang is seeking a new trial, a new sentence, or an acquittal.
“Instead, Tonya Bean obtained information about the defendant’s case from the news and family and friends who researched defendant’s case on the Internet,” Wang claims in her motion.
Wang is prominently featured in the second season of Suspect Convictions, a true crime podcast jointly produced by journalist Scott Reeder and GLT. Convicted murderer Barton McNeil claims that Wang, his ex-girlfriend, was the real killer in the 1998 smothering death of his 3-year-old daughter, Christina. McNeil was convicted of that crime instead, and the Illinois Innocence Project is fighting for his exoneration.
Wang alluded to her post-conviction motion in a Nov. 30 letter sent to Reeder. In that letter, Wang denied any involvement in the 1998 murder.
“This is obviously a desperate attempt by Mr. McNeil to gain release from prison by exploiting a tragic but unrelated situation,” Wang said in her handwritten letter.
Filed with Wang's new motion is an affidavit from Tonya Findley, who claims Bean told her she lied about Wang on the witness stand. Findley and Bean also served time together at the McLean County jail. Findley signed her 2015 affidavit while serving time at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln. That’s the same prison where Wang is serving her sentence.
“I have specific knowledge and information, personal knowledge that Tonya Bean committed perjury when she testified against Misook Nowlin, and that the prosecutor knew she was not being truthful,” Findley says in her handwritten affidavit.
Wang’s public defender, Jeff Brown, also argues that Wang was never properly informed that her guilty plea on the concealment charge would lead to a consecutive prison sentence with her murder charge.
“(Wang) was prejudiced and denied due process by not being properly admonished at her plea hearing that her concealment sentence must run consecutive to any conviction arising out of the murder trial,” Brown writes.
Wang is due back in McLean County court Jan. 24 for a status hearing.
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