Beaman experiences freedom: Chewing gum, cell phones, sunrises

Corina Curry

In the hours after his release from prison, Alan Beaman drank water from a glass, chewed gum, used a knife to cut his steak dinner, talked on a cell phone and played with two dogs.

The mundane details of everyday life stood out in the 35-year-old’s mind as monumental Friday, his first day of freedom in 13 years. There was more, too: watching the sun rise, talking a walk down the street, surfing the Internet and swinging on a swing set — none of which he could do in prison.

Beaman, whose 1995 conviction for the death of 21-year-old Jennifer Lockmiller was thrown out by the Illinois Supreme Court last month, was released from the McLean County Jail Thursday evening on a $250,000 bond.

Though the Illinois Supreme Court vacated Beaman’s murder conviction, McLean County State’s Attorney William Yoder has said he plans to move forward with the investigation and prosecution, which could mean a second trial.

Beaman has maintained his innocence for 15 years.

Although he’s happy to be reunited with friends and family and to be back at his parents’ Rockford home, he said he hasn’t forgotten the seriousness of his situation.

“Yesterday was still a very serious day,” Beaman said. “There’s another family suffering right now and another person out there who committed a murder. I don’t want to lose that perspective.”

Corina Curry can be reached at (815) 987-1395 or