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Attorney wants charges dropped

Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

BELLEVILLE (AP) – A defense attorney wants charges dropped against a man accused in a 1989 southwestern Illinois slaying, claiming police mishandled evidence.

Thomas Q. Keefe filed a motion in the case against Carlos Garrett, who’s charged with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Willis.

The 16-year-old honor student’s partially clothed body was found near her Centreville home almost 25 years ago. She had been raped and beaten.

Garrett was charged last year after submitting DNA evidence in an unrelated drug case. Police say it matched DNA recovered from Willis.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that Keefe claims police failed to adequately protect evidence in its storage locker, and that some evidence was thrown out and burned at one point.

The St. Clair County state’s attorney would not comment on the case.

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