Killer in prison for fatal beatings of three women in Illinois state park to be released next week

The man known as the Starved Rock Killer, who was accused of beating to death three women who were vacationing in an Illinois state park in March of 1960, will be released from prison next week after serving nearly 60 years of a life sentence. 

Chester Weger, 80, would have been released sooner after he was granted parole in November, had been held over while he was being evaluated to ensure that he would not commit an act of sexual violence upon his release from prison. 

An evaluation ordered by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul under the state’s Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act cleared Weger and he is now expected to be released on Feb. 21. 

Chester Weger, 80, known as the Starved Rock Killer, who was accused of beating to death three women who were vacationing in an Illinois state park in March of 1960, is set to be released on Feb. 21 after serving nearly 60 years of a life sentence

Chester Weger, 80, known as the Starved Rock Killer, who was accused of beating to death three women who were vacationing in an Illinois state park in March of 1960, is set to be released on Feb. 21 after serving nearly 60 years of a life sentence

Chester Weger, 80, known as the Starved Rock Killer, who was accused of beating to death three women who were vacationing in an Illinois state park in March of 1960, is set to be released on Feb. 21 after serving nearly 60 years of a life sentence

Weger, who suffers from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, had been the second-longest serving inmate within the Illinois state prisons, the Chicago Tribune reports.

He had been convicted and sentenced to life for the beating death of Lillian Oetting, 50, whose remains were found along with the brutally beaten bodies of Frances Murphy, 47, and Mildred Lindquist, 50, in Starved Rock’s St. Louis Canyon. 

Weger was not prosecuted for the deaths of Murphy and Lindquist because he already had been given a life sentence for Oetting’s murder, reports the Tribune. 

Married, with an infant son, Weger had initially confessed to killing the three friends who were on a mini vacation in Starved Rock near Utica on March 14, 1960. 

He said he had intended to rob them, but later recanted the confession and has since maintained that it was coerced.

The body of a victim is carried out of St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock in March 1960

The body of a victim is carried out of St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock in March 1960

The body of a victim is carried out of St. Louis Canyon in Starved Rock in March 1960

The bodies of the three Riverside women were found in March 1960. Shaw Media Illinois reports the case confounded investigators until they determined that the cord used to bind the women´s hands matched twine from a spool in the kitchen of the Starved Rock Lodge

The bodies of the three Riverside women were found in March 1960. Shaw Media Illinois reports the case confounded investigators until they determined that the cord used to bind the women´s hands matched twine from a spool in the kitchen of the Starved Rock Lodge

The bodies of the three Riverside women were found in March 1960. Shaw Media Illinois reports the case confounded investigators until they determined that the cord used to bind the women´s hands matched twine from a spool in the kitchen of the Starved Rock Lodge

The brutalized bodies of the three victims were found in a cave at the state park after they went on a daytime hike.

The case confounded investigators until they determined that the cord used to bind the women´s hands matched twine from a spool in the kitchen of the Starved Rock Lodge.

The 21-year-old Weger was a dishwasher at the lodge and had a juvenile record.

Weger, pictured after the triple killings, had sought parole since 1972. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board had voted 9-4 to approve Weger's 24th request for release in November.

Weger, pictured after the triple killings, had sought parole since 1972. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board had voted 9-4 to approve Weger's 24th request for release in November.

Weger, pictured after the triple killings, had sought parole since 1972. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board had voted 9-4 to approve Weger’s 24th request for release in November.

Jurors convicted him on March 3, 1961, his 22nd birthday, but only in the Oetting case. The panel declined to sentence him to death, opting for life in prison.

Granddaughters of the slain women have spoken out publicly against his release along with the LaSalle County state’s attorney, reports the Tribune.

However, his supporters insist he poses no threat to public safety. 

Guards at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center where he is serving his life sentence report Weger keeps to himself and doesn’t cause trouble, said parole board officials.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board had voted 9-4 to approve Weger’s 24th request for release in November.

He had sought parole since 1972.  

 

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