Reporting Steve Miller
(CBS) – A downstate man who was exonerated after spending 17 years in prison for a double murder says he doesn’t understand why he’s been passed over once again for a pardon from the governor.
WBBM’s Steve Miller reports Randy Steidl first sought a pardon while still in prison in 2002.
He spent 17 years behind bars – 12 of them on death row – for the murders of a young couple in Paris, Ill., in 1986.
In 2004, he was set free after prosecutors dropped the charges against him , when a federal judge ruled he’d received ineffective counsel at trial, because his original attorney failed to expose the lies of a witness who falsely claimed she saw Steidl kill the victims.
“I don’t understand what’s so complicated about my case when there’s clear evidence of my actual innocence. I mean, a blind man using braille could see it,” Steidl said. “I just feel that the Steidl name, after all is said and done, after 26 – almost 27 – years, that the Steidl name deserves to be pardoned because of my grandchildren.”
Since Steidl filed his original clemency request, three successive governors have failed to take action, while deciding thousands of other requests.
“Laid there for almost 12 years. It’s the oldest pardon in the state of Illinois,” Steidl said.
Once again, he was passed over for a pardon last week, as Gov. Pat Quinn issued 65 pardons, and denied 124 requests.
“I’m just hoping that it’s something that’s not been kept away from the governor. Maybe it’s the staff that has buried that pardon, or maybe he’s never seen my request. That’s my main concern,” Steidl said.
Quinn’s spokeswoman said the Steidl case is “under review.”
Steidl – who spent 12 years on death row – is now working to end the death penalty in Indiana and Kentucky.