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Chicago man gets life for 1994 Waukegan death

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 11:16 p.m. CST

WAUKEGAN – A Chicago man didn’t attend when a Lake County judge sentenced him to life in prison for the 1994 bludgeoning death of an appliance store owner in Waukegan.

The Daily Herald reported 44-year-old Hezekiah Whitfield refused to attend the Tuesday sentencing hearing. He has maintained his innocence in the death of 71-year-old Fred Reckling of Libertyville. Prosecutors say Whitfield killed Reckling before robbing his store and stealing his car.

Whitfield was convicted of Reckling’s murder in April. Another man, 66-year-old James Edwards, was charged and convicted of killing Reckling. But DNA evidence cleared Edwards of the murder in 2012. Authorities used the same DNA evidence to charge Whitfield in 2012.

Whitfield is jailed in Lake County.

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