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May 13 trial date for suspect of Reckling murder

Hezekiah D. Whitfield

Hezekiah D. Whitfield

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:00AM

Almost two decades have passed since Fred Reckling, owner of Grand Appliance, was found murdered in his Waukegan store.

One man was convicted for the crime, sentenced to life, then released. Now, another man will stand trial for the murder.

Lake County Circuit Court Judge Mark Levitt on Tuesday set a May 13 trial date for Hezekiah Whitfield of Chicago.

Whitfield was arrested May 15, 2012 for the 1994 murder. Whitfield was charged with first-degree murder after DNA found at the crime scene was matched to his, authorities said.

Whitfield has pleaded not guilty to the Reckling murder. He is in custody at Lake County Jail in lieu of $3 million bond. He is due back in court March 13.

Previously, James Edwards was sentenced to life in prison for the Reckling murder after his conviction in 1996. Edwards’ attorney Paul DeLuca called it a false confession case. Lake County prosecutors dropped the murder charges against Edwards after DNA evidence cleared him.

Waukegan police and now-retired Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller said last year that “newly developed and forensic findings” led to Whitfield’s arrest.

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