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Adams to claim his attorney was ineffective

Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Byron E. Adams

DIXON – Convicted killer Byron Adams plans to file a motion claiming ineffective assistance of counsel as he seeks a new trial and a reconsideration of his 60-year sentence.

Because the motion was not filed by Thursday, the hearing that was to be held that day was moved to April 5. His attorney, David Mandrgoc, was unable to met with Adams until Thursday, he told Lee County Associate Judge Charles Beckman.

Mandrgoc said he mailed a letter to Adams on Jan. 31 that his client did not get until Feb. 25 because Joliet Correctional Center, where he is being held, apparently takes about a month to sort mail.

The latest motion is Adams' second. In the other, he claims DNA collected in his case was not originally identified as his.

An examiner made notes that said, among other things, the DNA was human and of a type that could be a match for 766 people, Mandrgoc said. It did not exclude Adams.

Adams was convicted in October of suffocating Margaret Atherton, 35, of Dixon, on Sept. 11, 2009. He was sentenced Dec. 18.

Katherine Sullivan, a forensic biologist with the state police crime lab in Joliet, testified at trial that DNA on a pillowcase and a necktie came from two men: The major contributor was Atherton’s husband, Ryan; the minor contributor was Adams, she testified.     

The judge will consider the ineffective assistance of counsel and the DNA motion at the April 5 hearing.

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