People v. StoeckerAnnotate this Case
In 1996, 15-year-old Humble left a Peoria children’s home and accepted a ride from a man who drove her to a remote area, sexually assaulted her, cut her throat, and left her in a field. At the hospital, Humble described her assailant as a white, stocky man, 20 to 30 years old, with blond hair, driving a red car. Humble died one month later. Defendant had previously lived near the crime scene. On the evening of the attack, defendant attended a class for domestic abusers and was seen wearing a knife in his belt and leaving in a red car. The next day, defendant left the country. Wiretap recordings of conversations with his family indicated that defendant was hiding from authorities. A police officer observed defendant’s brothers burning the interior of a red car. Defendant was extradited 18 months later and charged with first degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault. One expert testified that the DNA profile identified in the male fraction of a stain on Humble’s clothing and in defendant’s blood would be expected to occur in approximately 1 in 1.1 trillion Caucasians. The appellate court affirmed his conviction and life sentence. In 2008 the appellate court affirmed dismissal of defendant’s fifth post-conviction petition. In 2009, defendant requested that the stain evidence be subjected to testing allegedly unavailable at the time of his trial: mitochondrial (mtDNA) testing, and Y-chromosome (Y-STR) testing. He alleged that mixed samples of male and female DNA, like in his case, “can lead to misidentification,” and that Y-STR testing “allows resolution of a mixed sample,” but did not claim that the requested testing provided a reasonable likelihood of more probative results. The circuit court denied the motion. The appellate court reversed. The supreme court reinstated the denial, noting that defendant never raised these claims and offered no alternative DNA evidence or expert opinion at trial; he never challenged admission of the DNA test results as inaccurate or improperly performed. The court noted the strength of the matches between the stain and defendant’s DNA profile, plus the compelling circumstantial evidence of his guilt.