McLean County convicted killer loses bid for retrial in 1980’s murder

For now, Barton McNeil remains behind bars at a medium-security prison in Pickneyville, Illinois. (Photo courtesy: Illinois Department of Corrections)

By Blake Haas

MCLEAN COUNTY – A McLean County convicted killer has lost his bid to seek a new trial in a murder case.

In a verdict late Thursday night, McLean County Judge William Yoder denied Barton McNeil a new trial due to lack of evidence.

McNeil was convicted of killing his 3-year-old daughter in McLean County in the late 1990s.

According to McNeil, his now estranged girlfriend, Misook Nowlin, allegedly committed the crime.

Nowlin, who went on to kill her mother-in-law, is serving a 55-year sentence at the Logan County Correctional Center. Nowlin killed her mother-in-law, Linda Tyda, in 2011.

In a call from the Pickneyville Correctional Facility in Southern Illinois, McNeil said Judge Yoder is just as guilty.

“Judge Yoder’s latest ruling has made himself a party to three murders. As a former McLean County State’s Attorney, he fought to maintain my wrongful conviction in the service of Misook Nowlin’s getaway. In so doing, he facilitated Nowlin’s later killing of Linda Tyda. And as a judge, he is determined to unjustly take my own life despite his awareness of my innocence.”

For now, the 64-year-old McNeil remains behind bars on a 100-year sentence. With good behavior, McNeil could be released on parole in 2048, when McNeil would be 88 years old.

WJBC reached out to McNeil’s family for a comment regarding a possible appeal to Judge Yoder’s ruling.

Blake Haas can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…