Andy Hale

Peoria Public Radio

Ten months after his release from prison, Cleve Heidelberg is dead. The 75-year old was in failing health at the time of his release last spring. He was found in an apartment in the 4200 block of Knollridge Rd. with no external trauma or sign of injury according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.


Heidelberg was released after serving more than 47-years in prison. He was convicted of murdering Peoria County Sheriff Sgt. Raymond Espinoza in 1970. His conviction was vacated last April.


Attorney General's Office Withdraws from Heidelberg Case

Jul 21, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The latest hearing for Cleve Heidelberg was a strike out for his defense attorneys.

Cleve Heidelberg Gets a New Day In Court

Feb 28, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Attorneys for Cleve Heidelberg are celebrating the seven hours of testimony yesterday as “an accomplishment.” Four separate witnesses were called to testify Tues. in Judge Albert Purham’s courtroom in the Peoria County Building.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

73-year-old Cleve Heidelberg is spending his Christmas in prison, for the 46th straight year. Heidelberg’s 1970 murder conviction of a Peoria Deputy is still under review. But a hearing scheduled for the end of December could mean a shot at a new trial -- even freedom -- in the New Year.

David Zalaznik / Peoria Journal Star

A Peoria County judge ruled Thurs. a special prosecutor should be named in a 46-year-old murder case. Judge Al Purham told the courtroom he was “troubled” and “not satisfied” by the initial investigation that led to the conviction of 73-year-old Cleve Heidelberg in 1970.

Heidelberg’s attorney Andy Hale says the judge’s decision is promising going forward.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Two lawyers filed a petition Thursday requesting that a special prosecutor reopen a 1970 murder case involving the slaying of a Peoria Sheriff’s Sergeant.

Attorneys Andy Hale of Chicago and Don Jackson of Peoria filed a 98-page petition arguing Cleve Heidelberg was wrongly convicted. They say much of the incriminating evidence was manufactured and important physical evidence never surfaced in the courtroom, like the results of a latent fingerprint test conducted by the FBI.

Illinois Department of Corrections

A 45-year-old Peoria murder case is being brought back to light. After reviewing details of the incident, court documents and statements from witnesses, several people say the suspect who’s serving a 100-year prison sentence is innocent.

Here are the undisputed circumstances of the murder: