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Man exonerated in 1980 killing now facing new murder charge

A Chicago man who served 32 years in prison before DNA evidence overturned his conviction in the 1980 rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl has now been charged with killing a man after a dispute in a dice game.

Andre Davis, 53, was charged with murder Thursday in the October death of 19-year-old Jamal Harmon, whose body was found shot and stabbed in an alley. A judge ordered Davis held without bond.

Prosecutors allege that Davis' nephew shot and wounded Harmon in a dispute over money lost in a dice game, then Davis helped load the man — who was still alive, according to witnesses — into the trunk of a car.

During Thursday's court hearing, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Robert Mack said witnesses also told investigators that Davis told people he had cut Harmon's throat and intended to dump the body, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

It was unclear Friday whether Davis had an attorney. He had a public defender at Thursday's hearing, but the Cook County Public Defender's Office said Friday it was no longer representing him.

Davis was freed from prison in 2012, after spending more than three decades behind bars following his conviction — before DNA testing was available — in the 1980 slaying of 3-year-old Brianna Stickle in Rantoul.

In 2004, Davis requested that evidence gathered at the crime scene be tested. The tests revealed that blood and semen found at the scene did not come from Davis.

But it wasn't until March 2012 that an Illinois appellate court ordered that Davis be granted a new trial. A few months later, prosecutors dropped the case against him, and Davis was released from the super maximum security prison in Tamms.

The Center on Wrongful Convictions, which is part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University's School of Law, represented Davis in that case. The clinic declined to comment Friday on whether one of its attorneys would represent Davis in the current case.

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