by: Austin Schick
Posted: Apr 1, 2022 / 08:35 PM CDT
McNeil believes he was wrongfully convicted for 1998 murder of his daughter
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — On Friday, prosecutors with the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office refuted evidence that the 1998 murder of 3-year-old Christina McNeil was committed by anyone other than her father, Barton McNeil.
In 1999, Barton McNeil was found guilty of the murder of his daughter and was sentenced to 100 years in the Illinois prison system. However, McNeil has maintained his innocence since then.
McNeil has been challenging his conviction for years and claims his attorneys with the Illinois Innocence and Illinois Exoneration Projects have new evidence that wasn’t presented at his trial.
The Illinois Innocence Project filed a motion for a new trial in March of 2021.
However, in a 41-page document filed Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Koll pushed back the defense’s claims of any new evidence. The state’s motion said the evidence is not new and was available at the time of McNeil’s trial. Koll’s motion also reads it’s “simply a different interpretation of autopsy findings” among an independent forensic pathologist and the state’s forensic pathologist.
Since the trial, McNeil has also argued that the state failed to investigate his ex-girlfriend, Misook Nowlin-Wang. Whom he’s described as someone who would be capable and have a motive to commit the crime since they broke up around the time of the murder.
Misook Wang would be found guilty of the 2011 murder of her mother-in-law, making allegations of her involvement in Christina McNeil’s murder known to the public.
McNeil also claims there is evidence of Wang’s hair being found in his daughter’s bed.
Koll stated in the motion to dismiss that it would be expected to find her DNA in the room, as she and McNeil had engaged in regular contact with Wang and was involved with her sexually three days before the murder.
McNeil told WMBD in previous interviews that he washed sheets and bedding the night before his daughter stayed with him, and therefore it wouldn’t be possible to find Wang’s DNA on the sheets after her last visit to the apartment. He claims Wang snuck in through the bedroom window and killed his daughter.
According to McNeil’s lawyers, two women came forward and said Misook Wang admitted to her ex-husband, Don Wang that she killed Christina McNeil. The state conceded that this should be moved forward to another hearing.
Assistant State’s Attorney Koll also argued that Wang’s 2011 murder conviction is not related to the case or “probative” of McNeil’s innocence.
A hearing is set for May 12th where both sides will argue their positions on the state’s motion to dismiss.
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