Updated on 1/14/2011 at 5 p.m.
OAK BROOK (WBBM) — Gov.Quinn has yet to commit to signing a law that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois. But two men who could have faced capital punishment are speaking out today.
They were once considered the “worst of the worst.”
Kevin Fox, was accused of murdering his daughter, Riley, near Wilmington. Jerry Hobbs was arrested for allegedly murdering his daughter, Laura, and her friend, Krystal Tobias near Zion.
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After spending years in jail, both were cleared by DNA testing.
They say the state legislature should pass a law that requires immediate DNA testing in murder cases. Current law requires testing in six months. Along with their attorney, Kathleen Zellner, the former murder defendants also suggested the state use an independent lab to conduct the tests because they say private labs have advanced technology.
“We both sat with the death penalty over our heads,” said Fox. “It was because they had the DNA to test, but they chose not to.”
Fox won a multimillion lawsuit against Will County. Hobbs is planning to sue Lake County authorities.
“The bottom line is they made a decision to jump first before they did their job,” said Hobbs. “If they’d have done their job and the testing first, none of this would have happened.”
They said mandatory DNA testing would save millions in litigation like theirs.
As for the death penalty, both men would like to see Quinn sign the bill repealing capital punishment in Illinois.
“It’s a double edge sword,” Fox said. “The guy who killed my daughter, yes, I’d like to see him dead, but if it wasn’t for DNA testing we would have been on death row and eventually put to death.”
A representative from the Will County State’s Attorney’s office, which filed charges against Fox, agreed DNA testing should be done immediately, especially in murder cases. But he said DNA samples should only be sent to a private lab if the state lab can’t do it in a timely manner.
Contributing: CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker