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State

Judge makes Chicago man's innocence official

URBANA – A Champaign County judge has signed a petition declaring a Chicago man innocent of the 1980 murder of a 3-year-old girl.

Andre Davis spent 32 years in prison for the rape and murder of Brianna Stickle in Rantoul before his conviction was overturned and he was released from prison last year.

Judge John Kennedy signed the simple, two-page order Wednesday, according to The News-Gazette in Champaign. Davis did not have a hearing, nor did he appear in court.

“The petitioner is innocent of the offenses charged,” the order states.

Both Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz and the state Attorney General’s office had said they wouldn’t oppose Davis’ request for the petition.

Rietz said earlier this month that she didn’t believe she could prove in court that Davis was guilty, though she has noted he was twice convicted.

The first conviction was overturned because of a mistake made by a bailiff during court proceedings.

Davis was released from the Tamms “supermax” prison in southwestern Illinois last year after DNA evidence that wasn’t available at the time of his trials in the Rantoul girl’s death helped overturn his conviction.

Davis is now 51 and living in Chicago.

The innocence petition will allow Davis to receive about $200,000 in state compensation.

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