Lake County prosecutors on Tuesday dropped sexual assault charges against a man accused in a decades-old Waukegan rape.
Bennie Starks, convicted in 1986 of assaulting a 68-year-old woman, had served 20 years of a 60-year sentence when DNA evidence was retrieved that excluded him from the crime. An appeals court ordered a new trial in 2006, and Starks was released on bond.
The State's Attorney had previously threatened to retry Starks on the charges but on Tuesday dismissed the sexual assault counts.
"I'm feeling great," Starks said. "The fight is not over yet. We still have one more hurdle, but it's a great day."
Starks still must deal with an aggravated battery charge the appeals court didn’t reverse. His attorneys maintain he is innocent of all charges. The State's Attorney would not comment on the aggravated battery count.