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Columnist
Killer loses bid for DNA testing on evidence known to exclude him
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 6/2/2010 12:00 AM

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The man who killed appliance store chain owner Fred Reckling has lost a bid for DNA testing of blood stain evidence already known not to point to him.

James Edwards, 52, was on parole for killing a Chicago woman when he murdered Reckling inside the Grand Appliance store in Waukegan on Dec. 4, 1994.

Edwards was sentenced to life in prison for the murder in 1996 after a trial in which the state conceded blood stains found inside Reckling's car did not come from Edwards or the victim.

He filed a request for the testing in 2007, was rejected by Circuit Judge John Phillips that same year and then filed an appeal of Phillips' decision.

The 2nd District Appellate Court in Elgin recently upheld Phillips' decision, saying details included in Edwards' confession to the crime provided compelling evidence of his guilt that the jury accepted.

The justices also ruled the testimony from Grand Appliance employees, who said they frequently cut themselves on the job and had access to Reckling's car, provided a plausible explanation for the blood stains.

In Edwards' appeal, the justices said, he had failed to make a case for his contention the bloodstains came from some suspect other than himself.

After his conviction in the Reckling case, Edwards was extradited to Ohio where he was tried for the 1974 murder of a woman there and was again sentenced to life in prison.

Family fund

A fund for donations to help the family of a Park City cabdriver shot during a robbery attempt has been established at the North Shore Trust and Savings bank.

Patrick Foster, 45, died last week after being shot five times in the face, neck and back on March 13 while taking a passenger to an address in Zion.

Despite his wounds, Foster was able to jump into the back seat and pin the suspect in the shooting, Darryel Garner, to the seat while he called police for help.

Garner was originally charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, but prosecutors say the charges will be upgraded to murder and Garner could face the death penalty.

The bank's branches in Waukegan and Lindenhurst are accepting in-person donations made out to the Patrick Foster family, and donations can be mailed to the fund at P.O. Box. 980, Waukegan, IL 60075-0980.

Electronic donations can also be made through Pay Pal by going to supportPatrickFoster.com and clicking on the "Make Donation" link.