Juan Rivera Seeks DNA Testing to Obtain Justice for a Murder He Did Not Commit

Juan Rivera spent over 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Holly Staker, a crime he did not commit. Evidence uncovered in his civil rights lawsuit suggests strongly that police officers planted blood evidence on a pair of Mr. Rivera’s Voit gym shoes in an effort to frame him for the murder of Holly Staker.

The Voit shoes were collected as evidence after Mr. Rivera had been forced to confess falsely to the crime. Lab testing by the Illinois State Police in 1993 revealed a DNA profile consistent with Holly Staker’s blood. The police officers who investigated the crime declared the shoes definitive evidence of Mr. Rivera’s guilt.

But the shoes were never used against Mr. Rivera at trial.

Police and prosecutors learned shortly after discovering blood on the shoes that they were not available for sale anywhere in the United States at the time that Ms. Staker was killed. As a result, the shoes could not have been worn on the night of the crime. The shoes were dropped as evidence.

New testing in 2012 revealed a second, shocking DNA profile on the shoes: that of the person who actually killed Holly Staker.

The question that remains is how did these shoes end up stained with Holly Staker’s blood and the blood of her killer if they were not even available at the time of the crime?

Mr. Rivera has asked the Court for DNA testing to help answer that question.

Read more about Mr. Rivera’s fight for justice in his response to Defendants’ motion to quash DNA testing and yesterday’s Chicago Tribune.

Press Releases

Take Action Today

To discuss your case with an experienced civil rights attorney, contact our firm today for a free and confidential consultation at 888-644-6459 (toll-free) or 312-243-5900.

Our Impact

Read the latest blog posts, articles, and writings from Loevy + Loevy’s attorneys and staff.

Loevy & Loevy has won more multi-million dollar verdicts than perhaps any other law firm in the country over the past decade. 

We take on the nation’s most difficult public interest cases, advocating in and outside the courtroom to secure justice for our clients and to hold officials, governments, and corporations accountable.

Scroll to Top

If you or your property were impacted by the demolition of the smokestack at the former Crawford Coal Plant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood in April 2020, you may be entitled to compensation from a class action settlement. You can learn more about the settlement and file a claim at www.littlevillagesmokestack.com. If you have questions, you may also contact the attorneys working on the settlement by calling (800) 244-0942.