2024 March 1st – Breaking News: Scandal in Bloomington! 1998 Bloomington Police withheld evidence about murder


An important local news story that first broke in this Illinois State University Vidette news article by ISU student Paul Aguilar, on December 4th, 2023, an attempt was made by an Illinois citizen to hand deliver in the presence of Paul to the McLean County State’s Attorney office two signed affidavits coming from two neighbors that lived less than 100 feet from Barton McNeil’s apartment in 1998. The affidavits consist of new evidence that was not known at the time of McNeil’s March 1999 Offer to Show Proof Hearing or bench trial held in July 1999 (a sham of a trial that disallowed Bart from uttering the name “Misook” or discussing Misook as having been the alternative suspect at all denying him a fair trial before a jury of his peers).

The new evidence was refused to be taken by two McLean County clerks who would not provide their last names when asked. Despite this ridiculous action, the new evidence was subsequently sent via signed courier mail in two separate send outs both of which were received by the McLean County State’s Attorney office.

The evidence shows it would have been important to Barton and his legal team in countering the State’s December 1998 Motion in Limine filed by former McLean County State’s Attorney Charles Reynard on just seven months before Bart’s trial. The prosecutor’s motion requested the trial judge, G. Michael Prall, to disallow Barton using the alternative suspect theory defense in front of a 12-person jury. Prosecutors knew this would be his defense strategy on account Barton had claimed since the moment he demanded Bloomington Police return to his apartment to what he knew to be intruder evidence that his violent ex-girlfriend Misook Nowlin was responsible for his daughter’s death.

The two neighbors in their affidavits state they both gave two Bloomington Police detectives who interviewed them soon after the Christina McNeil murder very detailed information concerning their suspicions and firm belief that Misook was the murderer of Christina and that Barton was innocent. Both witnesses also had pointed out to police the presence of a noticeable scuff mark they believed was made by a shoe beneath Christina’s window that was on a wall that had been recently painted so the scuff mark stood out. They also pointed out further physical evidence that existed which was their having seen trampled plants outside Barton’s apartment. With both of their sighting of the scuff mark and trampled plants before Bloomington Police had been summoned to return.

The important information they contributed that pointed to Misook’s guilt, including her having threatened to kill both neighbors in earlier incidents reported to police, is not contained in the original police report.

See below Bloomington Police narrative of the two witnesses for a “neighborhood canvas” interview that took place the day after the Christina McNeil’s lifeless body was found in her bedroom. This was all of the information that was provided by the Bloomington Police to Barton and his attorneys.

Bloomington Police Detective Clayton Wheeler it should be noted in later years ascended the ranks to become the Assistant Chief of Police for the Bloomington Police Department and was the Assistant Chief of Police when Misook returned to Bloomington to strangle Linda Tyda to death. The Bloomington Police chief at that moment in time was former Sgt. Randall McKinley who also figures largely into the failed investigation of the Christina McNeil murder. No wonder then when Misook returned to kill and there were 6 out of 7 detectives still working at the Police Department, with McKinley the police chief, and Wheeler the Assistant Police Chief, that the Bloomington Police decided not to (1) re-investigate or re-open the Christina McNeil murder case and (2) despite Misook having confessed strangling her mother-in-law Linda Tyda, to want to question her in any way whatsoever regarding her having participated in the murder of Christina. To this day, despite Misook’s touch DNA being found in Christina’s fitted bedsheet in 2016, Bloomington Police have not interviewed Misook again in connection to the murder of Christina McNeil.

At the time of Christina McNeil’s murder, her outside window showed clear signs of intruder evidence with two cut holes in either corner, a bent frame, a screen not in its proper track, not properly latched, and the circular fan normally placed in the window mysteriously now on the floor. CLICK HERE to see the window screen from the outside showing a dusty impression where the circular shaped fan was normally located in the window frame with the upper window frame holding the fan in place. On June 16th, 1998 it was a hot muggy night with ground floor bedroom window open with the fan set inside it.

Readers will note original police report of the two witnesses is very limited and does not contain any information that could be of great help in Barton’s defense. As a result Barton and his court appointed public defender attorney Tracy Smith never interviewed either of these two potential witnesses since they were both misled by the 1998 Bloomington Police as to what they actually had told the two detectives when interviewed. Barton had only lived in his apartment on 1105 N. Evans Street with Christina for eight short weeks. He moved in on April 15th and his daughter was killed eight weeks later on June 16h, 1998.

Before he moved in the apartment was made ready for move-in with the screen in perfect and undamaged shape. As the bedroom window ran along a paved walkway Barton would never have allowed his child to sleep in the bedroom with a window in the condition in which he found it the afternoon of June 16th for when he summoned police return and to bring an entire homicide forensic unit with them.

CLICK HERE to listen to Bart’s four (4) subsequent 911 phone calls to Bloomington Police seeking their immediate return to view for themselves the intruder break-in evidence Bart saw.

Both neighbors in their affidavit state they were surprised they were never called as witnesses leading up to Bart’s trial since they had so much to contribute so figured someone eventually would but never did.



Strangely, the present day court files in the Barton McNeil case as of the writing of this post do not currently contain the two signed affidavits despite Illinois Supreme Court RULE 3.8 SPECIAL DUTIES OF A PROSECUTOR which states all of State of Illinois State’s Attorney’s upon learning of evidence that points to a person’s innocence must provide this same evidence to the defendant, to assign the defendant an attorney if they do not otherwise have one, to give it to a judge if one is currently presiding over a case (as Judge Yoder was at the time), and to the defendant’s counsel. Which in Barton’s instance would be his legal team consisting of the Illinois Innocence Project and the Exoneration Project.

At the time this new evidence was given to Ms. Reynolds by signature required courier mail, Judge Yoder had held the 3rd Stage Evidentiary hearing two weeks earlier on November 21st concerning the confession evidence. The evidence was to be hand delivered but two clerks that worked for the McLean County State’s Attorney office who both refused to accept the envelope with the evidence contained. As a result it was sent courier signature receipt to the attention of State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds along with other neighboring State’s Attorneys, Illinois State’s Attorney Kwame Raoul, and Governor J.B. Pritzker. Click Here to see confirmed courier mailing information showing when all parties received deliveries containing the new evidence.

The cover letters and two affidavits were also accompanied with an important Addenda attachment showing how important the withheld evidence would have been to Bart’s legal defense and how by their not having it harmed greatly his case. The Addenda consists of actual police reports and court transcripts found in Bart’s discovery and trial transcripts.

Judge Yoder did not make his biased ruling denying Barton McNeil a new trial until February 1st, 2024. In his ruling he makes no mention of having seen, reviewed or learned of this new evidence in his ruling so it is now unknown by Team Bart to what extent he should have considered it. Click here to see Judge’s Febrruary 1st, 2024 ruling

At the time of this post, neither of the two witnesses were contacted by any person with the State’s Attorney office or any other Illinois government official.

Barton has become Bloomington’s Revenant. He was considered dead by the McLean County State’s Attorney office after he was sentenced first to a lifetime sentence in prison in 1999 following his bench trial that was later modified to be a 100-year “death by prison” sentence in 2002 but has risen from the dead. It’s not Leo, It’s not Brad, it is Bart McNeil, Innocent Dad!

It was Bart himself who railed at the court when being resentenced in 2002 and made the prediction that because the court got it wrong Misook would go onto kill again.

Nothing short but an incredible prediction that comes true

Be sure to check out the article entitled “Who Killed Baby Christina” in this month’s March/April issue. Below an inside cover introduction to the article not many would know about so including it here.

Click this link to go to Esquire Article.

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