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Illinois man granted 3rd trial for murder of Rock Island girl

The Iowa Court of Appeals granted a third trial for a man already convicted twice for the murder of a nine-year-old girl.

Jennifer Lewis’ burned body was found in a field near Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport, Iowa in September 1990.  Jennifer had reportedly been raped and strangled before her body was set on fire.

Stanley Liggins, a family acquaintance from Rock Island, was accused of her murder.

Liggins, who is now 51, was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in 1993 in Scott County.  That conviction was overturned, and he was tried and convicted again in a change-of-venue trial in 1995 in Dubuque.

An appeal of the second conviction was also successful, and Liggins was granted a third trial.

The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, November 6, 2013 that Liggins did not get a fair trial in Dubuque because defense attorneys were not told that one of the prosecution’s witnesses was a paid police informant.

The Iowa attorney general’s office planned to appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Liggins is serving a life sentence at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

Jennifer Lewis (WQAD archive photo)

Jennifer Lewis (WQAD archive photo)