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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

5/3/2013 11:30:00 AM
Cedar Point murder convict's court requests tire prosecutors

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — Prosecutors are tired of having convicted murderer Ronald Barrow brought in and out of La Salle County Circuit Court — and they want it stopped.

Barrow, 54, is serving life in prison (commuted from a death sentence) for the 1984 murder of 86-year-old Joseph O’Berto of Cedar Point. He is seeking to reverse his conviction and/or win a new trial, and currently is seeking forensic testing on several pieces of evidence.

Barrow has sought to pursue evidentiary tests that weren’t available when he stood trial for murder nearly three decades ago. At the top of his list is a comparison of the .357-caliber bullet that police recovered from O’Berto’s home.

The various tests have taken up months and untold expenses, and prosecutors recently filed a motion to halt the various trips to court. In a March 19 filing, assistant state’s attorney Jeremiah Adams said Barrow has been given every test result he has asked for, yet the state still is shuttling Barrow from prison to court and back for hearings Adams deems unnecessary.

”The defendant has the results he asked for,” Adams wrote. “No further hearing is appropriate under this statute. To continue to writ the defendant back from the Department of Corrections is a waste of time and resources.”

Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia will consider the state’s cease-and-desist request at a previously scheduled hearing on May 24.

Barrow was convicted in 1985, largely on the strength of a secretly-recorded conversation with Harold “Smokey” Wrona, now deceased, in which Barrow discussed his role in a killing. The taped recording, and Wrona’s involvement, would be hotly debated years after the fact.

Barrow’s latest round of appeals and post-conviction motions is centered around getting fresh evaluations of a bullet and footwear using tests not available the first time around.

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