, 2022-09-06 16:38:00,
A Navy veteran who has spent almost three decades in prison for the murder of his ex-wife was ordered to be released Tuesday after a Lake County judge overturned his conviction.
Herman Williams, 58, was expected to be released from the Sheridan Correctional Center after Judge Mark Levitt vacated his conviction for the killing of Penny Williams, whose body was found in a shallow pond in Waukegan on Sept. 26, 1993.
Authorities alleged that Herman Williams, who lived in Gurnee at that time while stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago, killed his former wife in order to gain custody of their two children.
But his attorneys from the Illinois Innocence Project and Lake County prosecutors Tuesday acknowledged that Williams’ conviction was based on scientifically unsupported forensic evidence. The Innocence Project also pointed to testimony from a police officer with a tainted record who said Williams confessed to the murder.
Prosecutors also apparently failed to disclose favorable evidence at Williams’ trial. The Innocence Project said new, advanced DNA testing excludes Williams from key biological evidence, and prosecutors Tuesday agreed with that assessment.
“This horrific crime not only robbed two children of their mother, but because of a flawed investigation, lies from police and prosecutors, and withheld evidence, they also had their father taken from them,” said Lauren Kaeseberg of the Illinois Innocence Project, who represented Williams.