(CBS) — It is a startling twist in a 22-year-old murder case that rocked the northern suburbs.
11-year-old Holly Staker was raped and stabbed to death while she was babysitting in Waukegan in 1992.
DNA evidence from Staker’s case has now been matched to a potential suspect in a second murder case. That case happened nearly a decade after Staker was killed, but the suspect remains unknown.
“We think it’s very significant.”,” said David Owens with the Exoneration Project. “We think it’s very significant.”
It was an effort to exonerate his client, Marvin Williford, of the torturous 2000 murder of Delwin Foxworth. They state ran a DNA test on a two-by-four used in the murder.
Marvin Williford’s DNA wasn’t there, but the two-by-four DNA matched a mystery profile: it was the same DNA that was found inside Holly Staker.
A man named Juan Rivera was once convicted of that crime three times, and freed, three times.
On Tuesday, Rivera told CBS 2, “These are horrific crimes and both families deserve justice. Second, I sincerely wish that this newly disclosed DNA evidence had come to light a decade ago, before I served nearly 20 years in prison for a crime I did not commit.”
It’s a break for his client, in another case he didn’t expect.
“Without a doubt that this person is involved in both instances,” said Owens. “Someone who hasn’t been identified.”
The Lake County State’s Attorney only says at this time the Staker case remains under investigation.