The University of Illinois Springfield is getting $754,000 for its “Illinois Innocence Project.”

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch says the university has helped many who were unfairly jailed, but that’s not the only positive.

“Many, many UIS students work in the project every year, and gain invaluable experience that serves them well as they move on in to their professions,” says Koch.

Project Executive Director John Hanlon says the $754,000 will help do something proven successful a couple of times this year.

“The project walked two innocent individuals out of prison due to the contribution of DNA testing — favorable DNA testing — results, exonerating results,” says Hanlon.  “Chris Abernethy and Angel Gonzalez spent a total of over 50 years in prison for crimes that they did not commit.”

Hanlon says the investigation time and DNA testing can be geared especially toward Latinos, whom he says are more likely to not have the resources to properly defend themselves.


(Copyright WBGZ Radio/