Prosecutors reject convicted killer’s new trial request
BLOOMINGTON (Heart of Illinois ABC) - A Bloomington man serving a life sentence after being convicted of killing his daughter is hoping to find justice for his daughter and be exonerated- but it looks like that process could be delayed.
Bart McNeil, 62, was convicted of killing his three-year-old daughter Christina McNeil in July 1999 and is serving 100 years.
In a hearing Friday, Prosecutor Mary Koll said the state would be filing a motion to dismiss, contesting the evidence that could free McNeil.
McNeil’s legal team of five lawyers from the Illinois Innocence Project and the Exoneration Project attended the hearing on his behalf.
In February, those lawyers filed a 65-page petition detailing why McNeil is innocent of the murder.
In that petition, newly and overlooked evidence challenges claims by a former pathologist that Christina was molested by McNeil before she was smothered.
It also reveals hairs found near Christina’s body were consistent with the DNA of McNeil’s ex-girlfriend Misook Nowlin.
McNeil said in a statement that he is not surprised by the result of the hearing, but he says he ultimately wants justice for his daughter and for ex-girlfriend Nowlin to be investigated as the suspect in his daughter’s killing.
“It has always been my goal, reversing my wrongful conviction and meet its greater end, justice for Christina has always been all I’ve ever sought,” McNeil said.
Jeff Boyer, who is McNeil’s friend and former co-worker, also attended Friday’s hearing.
He said back when McNeil was convicted, he was shocked because McNeil seemed liked a nice guy would loved and adored his daughter.
“Getting justice for Christina and getting justice for Bart is gonna take some time and if they can go through the process and present their evidence,” Boyer said.
“Then hopefully this man will be set free,” Boyer added.
Nowlin is now serving 55 years in prison for the murder of her mother-in-law Linda Tyda.
The next hearing is set for May 12, where McNeil will make an appearance unless COVID restrictions prevent him from attending.
Copyright 2021 Heart of Illinois ABC. All rights reserved.