ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For nearly 20 years, Alan Beaman fought to prove he's an innocent man. Now, five years after his murder conviction was overturned, a Champaign County judge declared him officially innocent.
It's a life that almost didn't happen. In the last five years, Alan Beaman became a husband, father of two and now by law, an innocent man.
"Maybe I won't have to think quite as much if does that person think I did it, who's looking at me from over there. Do they think I did it, do they recognize me. There's some of that in my life. To some extent, it's never going to go away, but at least I know that it's official," says Beaman.
Alan just received his Certificate of Innocence, officially clearing him from the 1993 murder of his ex-girlfriend. A murder, that sent him to prison for 13 years. DNA evidence overturned his conviction in 2008.
"Very big relief. There's been a lot of ups and downs and bumps in the road, and it's just nice to be here," says Alan's wife Gretchen Beaman.
"We just hope this sends a message, that they need to be careful when making decisions about prosecutions," says Alan's dad Barry Beaman.
The Beaman family has helped fight the legal system from the start. And woefully admit its taken a toll.
"It's almost become an obsession through the years of trying to get him off, kind of a vindication of our support for him," says Alan's Mom Carol Beaman.
Support, that helped launch a new chapter. One, that doesn't end with Alan dying in prison.
"I always had faith in the back of my soul, that there's hope."
With this Certificate of Innocence, Beaman gets 170-thousand dollars from the State. However the money must be included in the State's budget. So there's no telling when he'll actually receive it. He has also filed a civil suit against Mclean County, where he was prosecuted.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois man who spent more than 13 years in prison before his murder conviction was thrown out has been formally declared innocent in the slaying of a college student.
After a judge on Thursday agreed to his motion for a declaration of innocence, Alan Beaman calmly walked out of a Champaign courtroom and told reporters he was relieved.
Beaman had been convicted of the 1993 murder of Illinois State University student Jennifer Lockmiller. He was serving a 50-year sentence when the Illinois Supreme Court in 2008 reversed the conviction.
DNA testing has pointed to two previously unknown potential suspects.
Beaman's innocence petition was one of about two dozen filed under a 2008 state law that allows people to ask a court for a finding of innocence in such circumstances.