Pre-trial hearing set for Stanley Liggins’ fourth trial in 1990 murder

WATERLOO, Iowa -- A pre-trial hearing has been set for the man standing trial for a fourth time in the murder of a Rock Island girl.

Liggins, age 56, was expected to be tried for a fourth time in the 1990 murder of nine-year-old Jennifer Lewis from Rock Island.  He has been charged with first-degree murder.

The Davenport man has stood trial three times before in the murder case.  The most recent trial was during the summer of 2018, in Black Hawk County Court, where a jury was unable to come to a decision.

The Associated Press reports that he was convicted in 1993 in Scott County Court; the conviction was later overturned.  The second trial was held in Dubuque, where Liggins was again convicted of murder.

After filing several motions requesting a new trial, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in 2013, granting Liggins a third trial.   They ruled 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.

Previous reports indicate that Lewis’ body was found near Jefferson Elementary School on September 17, 1990, just days before her 10th birthday. Her body was found in a plastic garbage bag that had been set on fire.  She had reportedly been abused and strangled.

Liggins was expected back in court again on November 1.