St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on November 19, 1998 · Page 29
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 29

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 19, 1998
Page 29
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"f1 iiHV'l http: ILLINOIS ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH METRO THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1998 B3 Delay Conviction in murder case may not stand Continuedfrom Page Bl Derr had pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge in 1996, but withdrew his plea and was charged with murder. On Wednesday, the jury deliberated about an hour and 15 minutes after a two-day trial. The panel convicted Derr of two counts of first-degree felony murder, a count of involuntary manslaughter, and a count of concealing a homicidal death. He was accused of fatally beating Oberbeck in 1992 and dumping his body behind a vacant building in St. Louis. Police said that Derr, 6feet tall and weighing 270, may have just delivered one blow to Oberbeck, who was about 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds. Police also said the effect of the blow may have been worsened because Oberbeck, the manager of a popular restaurant and bar in Bethalto, was drunk. His blood-alcohol level was .31 percent, nearly four times the legal level of intoxication in Illinois of .08 percent. The felony murder charges alleged that Derr killed Oberbeck during a robbery or an attempt to intimidate him, and that Derr did not intend to kill him. The manslaughter charge alleged that Derr should have known that his blows could have killed or greatly injured Oberbeck. State's Attorney William R. Haine said he would argue that the verdicts were not inconsistent because the felony murder charges do not allege intent to kill, nor does the manslaughter charge. But Hildebrand, who was joined in defending Derr by lawyer Arthur S. Margulis of St. Louis, disagreed. "It is our position that he can't be found guilty of murder and manslaughter at the same time," Hildebrand said. He said no instruction had been given to the jury that those verdicts would be inconsistent. Asked if an instruction should have been given, Hildebrand said, 'You're asking for more 20-20 hindsight than I can provide." Route 1 in eastern Illinois will be dedicated to honor Korean War veterans The Associated Press DANVILLE, 111. A state road that stretches almost the length of Illinois will soon serve as a reminder to what is sometimes called 'the forgotten war." Illinois Route 1 from Chicago in the north to Cave in Rock in the south will be dedicated as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway during a ceremony Monday in Danville, roughly the road's midpoint. "It's in honor of Korean War Veterans, particularly those who died or are missing in action," said Ken Cook, president of the Korean War Veterans Association's chapter in Danville. 'We were forgotten for 40 years, and we're finally getting recognized." State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, who sponsored the House resolution making Route 1 a memorial highway, said he wanted recognition for those who served this country in Korea. "It was a bloody little action," he said. "Everything we take for granted today, like voting . . . they sacrificed for." While the horrors and rationing of World War II attracted great at tention and protests kept the focus on . Vietnam, the Korean conflict usually receives little attention. Korea was the first U.S. "police action to try to thwart communism. Like Vietnam, Congress never officially declared war. The resolution naming the route a memorial highway notes that 33,629 Americans were killed in action during the 1950-53 Korean conflict. Another 20,617 died from injuries or disease. Route 1 passes through many small towns in eastern Illinois, including Watseka, Hoopeston, Chrisman, Marshall and Mount Carmel. Commemorative signs will mark the route in four locations: at its beginning on the South Side of Chicago, on both the north and south entrances to Danville and near Cave in Rock in the southeastern tip of the state, said John Burke, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation. About 100 state and federal roads and highways in Illinois bear memorial status, including the Great River Road along the Mississippi River and Interstate 70, which is the Lewis and Clark Memorial Highway, Burke said. Illinois court stays execution of killer,-orders DNA test data given to defense - The Associated Press PEORIA, 111. The Illinois Supreme Court halted the execution of murderer Willie Enoch the day before he was scheduled to die. The order from the Springfield court came late Tuesday. Enoch, 44, was supposed to get a lethal injection in the Tamms Correctional Facility on Wednesday. The court stayed the execution for 90 days. In a one-paragraph decision, the court ordered that prosecutors turn over to defense attorneys all the raw data and notes from last spring's controversial DNA testing of a bloody sweatshirt. In an appeal of his 1983 conviction, Enoch had asked for the DNA tests on the sweatshirt, saying it would exonerate him. Instead prosecutors said the test results strongly linked him to the murder., and mutilation of 24-year-old Ai ' manda "Kay" Burns of Peoria. Burns was stabbed nearly be- yond recognition, her hands pinioned with a metal coat hanger and her mouth stuffed with strips' torn from her bedsheet. She had been sawed open from her breast-; bone to her pelvis. '.' Her boyfriend, Derek Proctoif,' testified that he saw Enoch run-'' ning away from her apartment , building. And Enoch's girlfriend testified that he had confessed to'-her. Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons said there is ntf chance that Enoch's conviction" will be overturned. 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