State asks judge to reconsider Whalen murder trial ruling

The McLean County State’s Attorney’s office is asking the judge who ordered a new murder trial for Donald Whalen to reconsider that decision. (Illinois Department of Corrections photo)


By Howard Packowitz

McLean County prosecutors are asking the judge who ordered a new murder trial for Donald Whalen to change his mind.

State’s Attorney Don Knapp confirmed his office filed a motion to reconsider, and Whalen’s lawyers from the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project filed a response.

A motion to reconsider is often the beginning of a process leading to an appeal.

Whalen is expected to appear for a status hearing Tuesday afternoon, but it’s not clear if Judge Scott Drazewski will consider the motion.

Whalen was serving a 60 year prison sentence for stabbing and beating his father William Whalen with knives and a pool cue in 1991 at the downtown bar owned by the elder Whalen.

Whalen’s defense team argued a customer who was kicked out of the bar killed William Whalen, and the defendant’s DNA was not at the crime scene.

The judge said a new trial would likely produce a different verdict, but ordered Whalen held on a $100,000 cash bond. Whalen and his family have not been able to come up with enough bail money for him to be released.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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