News

Prosecutors expect to rest case in Liggins trial

WATERLOO, Iowa ? Prosecutors are expected to rest their case Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Stanley Liggins.


Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Wednesday that he and Assistant Scott County Attorney Julie Walton have ?only one, maybe two? witnesses left to testify.


Judge Marlita Greve, chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District, told jurors before dismissing them for the day that the trial at this point is scheduled to end by the end of next week ?if not a few days earlier.?


Liggins, 56, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jennifer Lewis, 9, of Rock Island.


Her burning body was found around 9 p.m. Sept. 17, 1990, in a field near Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport.


She had been sexually abused and strangled before her body was doused in gasoline and set on fire.


 


Liggins, an acquaintance of Lewis? mother, Sheri, and stepfather Joseph ?Ace? Glenn, was identified as a suspect early in the investigation.


 


He has been tried and convicted twice in the girl?s death; both convictions have been overturned.


 


Frank Reising Jr., 56, testified Wednesday that he was cellmates with Liggins at the Scott County Jail in 1992. He said the two didn?t speak to each other until he got a television and saw a news report about Liggins and the murder of Lewis.


 


?I told him, ?that was you,?? Reising testified.


 


He said Liggins told him, ?I may have done it, but they ain?t gonna get me for it.?


 


Reising said he told a correctional officer ? he did not remember which one ? a day or two later. He later talked to a detective.


 


William Melroy, a former correctional officer at the jail, said Reising appeared agitated, irritated and antsy as he spoke to him and another correctional officer about what he said Liggins had told him.


 


?The more he spoke he got a little bit more agitated and got a little bit louder and louder in his speech,? Melroy said.


 


He said Reising told them that if they could not pass on the information to a specific lieutenant that he would ?deny everything.?


 


Reising testified at Liggins? prior trials and in post-conviction matters.


 


Reising, who was arrested Sept. 10 on a material witness warrant from Scott County, wore jail clothing Wednesday. According to the complaint filed by the Davenport Police Department, Reising is a ?necessary witness? to the Liggins case who had not made himself available for service of a subpoena for trial


 


Reising was released from the Omaha Correctional Center on July 21 and gave the Nebraska Department of Corrections a forwarding address of a relative in Sioux City, Iowa, according to the complaint filed by the police department.


 


The complaint states that the Sioux City Police Department contacted the relative on Aug. 1; the relative said Reising did not live there nor would he allowed him to stay there.


 


He was arrested on the warrant Sept. 10.


 


On Wednesday, Reising denied that he received any money or other benefits for providing the alleged statement to law enforcement in 1992 and said that he still got prison time on the charges that had landed him in jail.


 


?I didn?t do this for any benefit,? he testified. ?The man killed a child, man. Doesn?t deserve to live. I have kids.?


 


He also denied that he told any other inmates that he got any benefit from prosecutors in connection with the case.


 


?It?s not something you go around bragging about,? he said.


 


Defense attorney Aaron Hawbaker asked Reising about statements he made to a reporter that he believed he was purposely placed in the cell with Liggins and that police showed him photos of Lewis.


 


Reising acknowledged that he made the statements to the reporter but said he was lying because he wanted to ?get rid of him because he came to my job site.?


 


Hawbaker continued to press him about his testimony that he and Liggins had not spoken to each other before Reising saw the news report.


 


?The first words that he utters to you is what you?re saying was a confession to killing a 9-year-old girl, is that correct?? Hawbaker asked.


 


?I told you what he said,? Reising replied.


 


Prosecutors have called 52 witnesses since testimony began on Aug. 30. Of those, 19 witnesses have either died or have been deemed unavailable and their prior testimony was read to the jury.


 


Those witnesses include a forensic pathologist, a fire marshal, several police officers, and Joseph Glenn.