DAVENPORT -- The defense attorneys for Stanley Liggins made a last-minute plea Tuesday to dismiss the case against him or continue his retrial slated to begin Tuesday in Waterloo.
Black Hawk County public defender Aaron Hawbaker argued during a nearly two-hour hearing in Scott County District Court that in Liggins’ prior three trials, prosecutors have represented to the court, attorneys and three juries a plea agreement reached with a key witness was not in exchange for his cooperation and testimony in Liggins’ case.
He argued prosecutors repeatedly elicited testimony from the witness that he received no benefits for testimony against Liggins and his plea agreement had nothing to do with the trial.
Scott County Attorney Mike Walton adamantly denied the accusations and said the record was clear there has never been any attempt to hide the fact the witness was to testify in Liggins’ case per the plea agreement and the document was entered as an exhibit at all three trials.
Judge Marlita Greve, chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District, said she will take the matter under advisement and issue a written ruling.
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Liggins, 57, will be tried a fourth time in the September 1990 death of Jennifer Lewis, 9, of Rock Island.
He has long maintained his innocence.
Liggins was tried and convicted twice in the girl’s death; both convictions were overturned.
His third trial in Black Hawk County, where the trial was moved because of pretrial publicity, ended in a mistrial after jurors could not agree on a verdict.