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How Northwestern, CBS misled America, part 5
Former Northwestern Professor David Protess was front and center in the 2001 broadcast of CBS’ 48 Hours first examination of the 1986 Paris murders.
We’ve already demonstrated that Protess’ suggestion that a key “new” witness had blown apart the state’s murder timeline was false.
Protess then compounded his deception by saying this on national television:
“What these new statements by Ben Light and by Donnie Alexander indicate is that this crime occurred much later in the night, at a time when Randy Steidl and Herb Whitlock were nowhere near the scene.”
That was not true and Protess either knew it or should have known it. It is right in the record that Randy Steidl has admitted that his less than solid alibi those early morning hours was complicated by his trip to the post office around 3 a.m. to mail his monthly unemployment request.
Here is what Steidl said about this (page 217-218) in his 2009 civil deposition:
After Christie and I went to bed, I believe it was about three o’clock, i got up, put on a pair of shorts, a pair of flip-flops, I was going to mail my unemployment because I usually take it to town with me. I like to mail them at 12:01 a.m. because when I get them in early I always got them back early.
Took my unemployment form, out the back door, post office is very close. (Name redacted) at that time was in the back yard. I remember her saying wake Christie up, we’re going to leave in a little bit. I said okay. I said I’m going to mail my unemployment form, I’ll be right back. Got in the car — got on the bike first because the bike wasn’t as loud as the car, but anyway I felt pretty good. I drove back in five minutes from the post office.
Q. How did you get to the post office from your house?
A. I went down my alley to Ten Broeck Street, turned left on Ten Broeck, headed north one block, turned right, headed east two blocks across Central, went on past the high school to Main, straight to the town square, went one block east down Court Street and took a left on Water Street. One block off of the square. The post office was on Wood street.
Q. At that point in time when you were out mailing your unemployment check, did you hear sirens going off?
A. No I did not.
Q. Did you see any fire trucks go by?
A. No, I didn’t.
Q. At some point in time you talked about how you went by the Rhoads house on the way –
A. I did not go by the Rhoads house.
Q. So it’s your testimony you never went by the Rhoads house that day?
A. I had no reason to go by the Rhoads house.
Q. You’ve made the statement to several people over the years that if anyone saw you out you were out mailing your unemployment check; is that correct?
A. I never stated that. That was the truth though. I was out mailing my unemployment check at three o’clock in the morning.
According to Illinois State Police detective Jeff Marlow, Steidl was not being truthful in his civil deposition. Marlow said “several people” including Steidl’s brother Rory, previously said that Randy Steidl admitted driving past the Rhoads’ house the night of the murders.
Well, there’s several people, including his brother Rory that has said that Randy admitted driving past the Rhoads house on the morning of the homicide early in the morning when he was out mailing these unemployment documents. And I find no credible reason why he would have had to drive past the Rhoads house being just about approximately five blocks east of where he allegedly would have been mailing these unemployment documents. And he lived to the west of this section of town.
Protess’ statement that Steidl was “nowhere near the scene” of the murders is clearly false. We don’t know if Protess simply lied or was ignorant of the record in the case. Either way, CBS went along with the deception and aired it across the country. The narrative was building and apparently CBS was not about to let the facts get in the way of a good story.