In 1961 when Chester Weger was convicted and sentenced to life in prison – the State knew that they had presented a false narrative to the jury. They knew their case was built on one false assertion after another and they proceeded anyway. The State knew that the tree limb could not have been the murder weapon. They knew from multiple reports that there had to have been more than one assailant. They knew from a lab report that a hair found at the crime scene did not match Chester Weger’s. They knew that the twine found in the Lodge’s kitchen and twine found at the crime scene were two different kinds. They knew that nothing had been stolen from the women and yet called it a botched robbery. They knew that a mysterious phone call had been intercepted by an operator who overheard two men discussing a third man’s bloody overalls in the trunk of a car that were related to the murders. They knew the identity of the two men on this phone call who were discussing a plan to burn the incriminating evidence. They knew that the official narrative was impossible.
They knew that what they had presented to the jury wasn’t the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And even knowing all these things and more – the State still asked for Chester Weger to be strapped to an electric chair and killed. The State asked the jury to take the life of a man based on one thing and one thing only – an implausible confession – a confession the former prosecutor later called “absolutely ridiculous” - extracted after an admitted month long plan of psychological warfare - and hours and hours of interrogation – from an exhausted and terrified 21-year old dish washer.
This episode is a continuation of The Trial of the Century.
For more information, documents, photos, and other assets associated with and referenced in episode 6’s coverage of the case, visit andyhalepodcast.com.