HBO documentary on Starved Rock murders nominated for Emmy

‘It was decades in the marking,’ filmmaker says

A documentary film featuring Chester Weger, paroled after serving six decades for murder, is in the works. Much of the footage was supplied by La Salle native David Raccuglia, who spoke with and photographed Weger after release.

The Murders at Starved Rock,” the three-part documentary about the Chester Weger case and aired on HBO, has been nominated for an Emmy.

On Thursday, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences unveiled nominations including five for Outstanding Crime and Justice Documentary. “The Murders of Starved Rock” is one of three HBO documentaries in contention in that category.

A winner will be named Sept. 29.

“We were honored to be able to tell this story and have it recognized by the Academy,” director Jody McVeigh-Schultz said, “and we’re really grateful to everyone who shared their story with us along the way.”

“I am very happy that the hard work and dedication of all included in the making of this film is being recognized with this honor,” said filmmaker David Raccuglia, who narrated the documentary and provided much of the footage. “It was decades in the making.”

Chester Weger 1961

Weger, 83, was paroled in 2019 after serving nearly 60 years for the murder of Lillian Oetting, one of three women fond bludgeoned to death in the park. Weger confessed but recanted and continues to protest his innocence.

Weger initially refused interviews with Raccuglia but relented. At age 66, Weger sat for the cameras and tearfully insisted he was framed.

“They ruined my life,” Weger said. “They took everything I had.”

Coincidentally, the Emmy nomination was announced just days before a scheduled hearing in which Weger’s legal team hopes for lab results that show he wasn’t the killer.

Monday, there will be a hearing before La Salle County Judge Michael C. Jansz. According to a podcast by Weger attorney Andy Hale, lab results from tests of the 1960 evidence should be available for the hearing.