Stanley Liggins' new trial slated Oct. 27

Posted Online: April 04, 2014, 5:27 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Dawn Neuses,
DAVENPORT -- Stanley Liggins is set to stand trial a third time for the murder of 9-year-old Jennifer Lewis more than 24 years after her body was found in Davenport.

An Oct. 27 trial date was announced Friday during a pretrial conference at the Scott County District Courthouse. Hearings are scheduled for June 11 on two motions requested by Chief State Public Defender Phil Ramirez.

The motion to produce would require the Scott County Attorney's office to make evidence available. The second motion requests certain evidence be excluded.

Mary Maxwell-Rockwell, who identified herself as Jennifer's godmother, attended the conference but declined to comment.

Mr. Liggins was convicted of first-degree murder in the Sept. 17, 1990, death of Jennifer, who disappeared from a store in her Rock Island neighborhood. She had been raped and strangled, her body wrapped in a plastic bag, doused with gasoline and set on fire near a Davenport elementary school.

A Scott County jury first convicted Mr. Liggins in 1993, but the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the verdict. A second jury in Dubuque County convicted him again in 1995, and an appeal of that conviction was denied the next year.

Through a process known as post-conviction relief, which allows those convicted of a crime to ask the court to review their case, Mr. Liggins filed two applications for review. The first appeal was denied, a decision later affirmed by the appeals court in 2000.

The second appeal raised a new claim alleging that a key witness used by prosecutors was a paid Davenport police informant and prosecutors had failed to disclose that, and it only surfaced during a 2002 appeal hearing.

A district court judge again concluded it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the trials.

The appeals court, however, said in a Nov. 6, 2013, opinion, that failure of the state prosecutors to reveal the paid informant status of a key witness was significant and undisclosed evidence was material to the case.

The court vacated Mr. Liggins' conviction and ordered a new trial. He has remained in custody pending the new trial.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.

(More History)