Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Christopher Abernathy

First Name Christopher
Last NameAbernathy
Year of Conviction1987
Year of Exoneration2015
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife without parole
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • Informant
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Raped victim while she was walking home ● stabbed with pocket knife

Interrogation RecordedWritten and signed confession statement
Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW
Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

● Post-conviction, benefits offered to informant came to light that were not disclosed to the defense at trial

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Coerced Confession
  • Jury Instructions
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Abernathy, 545 N.E.2d 201 (Ill App. 3d 1989)