Last week, the 11th District Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a woman convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary after it was ruled that she was prejudiced by hearsay evidence. The court stated Danna Weimer was unfairly prejudiced by the admission of hearsay evidence and that it would vacate her conviction for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
According to court records, Weimer had been linked to the death of 77-year-old Eleanor Robertson in Madison Township. Robertson had been discovered dead in her home on June 13, 2012 with 94 stab wounds and multiple blunt force trauma. Weimar and her son were apprehended when an officer noticed her suspicious activity and found a jewelry box that belonged to Robertson in her possession.
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During the trial, the state presented testimony from a number of witnesses, as well as testimony from a Lake County jail inmate. The inmate had testified that Weimar’s son confessed to the murder with the help of a buddy, cleaned the house of evidence, and stole her property. The jury found Weimar guilty on 17 counts and was sentenced to 44 years to life. Her son was convicted in a separate case and sentenced to life in prison.
Weimar filed an appeal of her aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and corrupt activity convictions on the grounds that the inmate’s testimony was hearsay and should not have been admitted. The appeals court agreed and ruled that admission of the testimony violated Weimar’s rights. A new trial was ordered for the aggravated murder and aggravated burglary charges.