Stanley Liggins' new trial slated Oct. 27

Posted Online: April 04, 2014, 5:27 pm
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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 Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)