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Killer’s suit against jail tossed by federal judge

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Byron Adams enters Lee County court Sept. 13 for a pretrial hearing. The Chicago man was convicted in October of the September 2009 killing of Margaret Atherton in her Dixon home.

ROCKFORD – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that convicted murderer Byron Adams filed against the Lee County Jail’s assistant warden.

Judge Frederick Kapala granted a motion for summary judgment filed by correctional officer Doug Carlson.

A summary judgment is made by a judge based on statements and evidence presented, without the case going to trial.

Adams can appeal the decision.

Adams, 54, of Chicago, is serving 60 years for suffocating Margaret Atherton, 35, in her Dixon home on Sept. 11, 2009.

He was in the local jail from September 2009 until December, awaiting trial.

In July 2011, Adams told Sauk Valley Media that that while he in prison on a rape conviction in 1977, he saw a member of the Gangster Disciples kill a correctional officer and that he later testified against the gang member in court. 

That information also was included in a motion to declare inadmissable his confession to police, which was filed in April 2010 by his then-court-appointed attorney, Paul Whitcombe. 

Adams sued Carlson in April, claiming that the officer told other inmates that Adams had testified against the gang member, putting Adams’ life in danger. Adams did not specify when Carlson made the comment or to whom. 

In a motion filed in October, Carlson’s attorneys wrote that Adams failed to show when, where, how, or under what circumstances the information was released, and that the claim was uncorroborated.

The attorneys also said Adams failed to identify any threat made against him before being interviewed by SVM.

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