- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A 77-year-old Illinois inmate sentenced to life in prison more than five decades ago in the killings of three suburban Chicago women has been denied parole again.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted 11-2 Thursday to keep Chester Weger, the state’s third longest-held inmate, incarcerated. Jurors convicted Weger in 1961, a year after the women’s badly beaten and bound bodies were found in a Starved Rock State Park cave in March 1960. The victims were Lillian Oetting, 50, Frances Murphy, 47, and Mildred Lindquist, 50, all of Riverside.

Weger was 21-years-old with young children and worked as a dishwasher at the state park lodge. He wasn’t at Thursday’s board meeting but a member of the board previously interviewed him at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. The board has denied his parole requests dating to 1972.

Weger told the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2hyP0uw ) in an interview this month that he would like to spend his remaining years with his family, including three grandchildren. He maintained his innocence and said detailed confessions he gave the night of his arrest were coerced.

D. Wayne Dunn, the board member who interviewed Weger, told the board that it was his opinion that Weger has lost hope of ever being freed and has no plans for housing if he were to be released. Weger is in relatively good health but suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and emphysema.

One of the victim’s granddaughters, Diane Oetting, 53, of Alabama, gave testimony Thursday urging the board to deny Weger again.

“How do you explain what it is like growing up and not being able to ask about your grandmother, because talking about her was just too painful for your parents?” she said. “How do you explain the sadness in your father’s eyes each year when the letter from the prisoner review board arrives and how it lingered until he received the decision months later?”

No one appeared on Weger’s behalf.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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