Illinois police accused of planting gun in 1994 murder case

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois judge has ordered an investigation into allegations that Rockford police intentionally gave prosecutors the wrong gun to send a man to prison for more than two decades for murder.

Winnebago County Judge Joseph McGraw gave the order Tuesday, the day 52-year-old Patrick Pursley’s retrial was slated to start. New ballistic tests last year proved the gun used to convict him in 1994 for Andy Ascher’s death wasn’t the homicide weapon.

Prosecutors told McGraw last week that Ascher’s mother claims a detective told her after the first trial that police planted the gun. Now prosecutors and the Rockford police department have to turn over all paper and electronic records that mention Pursley’s case by Dec. 20, when an evidentiary hearing is scheduled.

Pursley’s attorneys want his case dismissed. Prosecutors maintain Pursley is guilty.

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