DNA test ordered in 1996 Highland Park murder case
Updated: December 14, 2012 6:00PM
A Lake County judge Friday ordered DNA testing requested by a man convicted of a 1996 Highland Park murder.
Louis Rozo, 47, was sentenced to 75 years in prison for murdering retired speech pathology professor Christy Shervanian, 69, on Dec. 1, 1996.
Rozo filed a motion in Lake County in 2008 asking that DNA taken from a tissue sample from Shervanian’s fingernails get tested. Rozo wants the DNA compared with two men who were alleged to have been Shervanian’s lovers.
The request was denied in Lake County, but the appellate court reversed that decision and sent it back to Lake County Circuit Court earlier this year.
Circuit Judge John Phillips told Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller and defense attorney Greg Nikitas to draft an order for the DNA testing at Friday’s hearing. Rozo was not present.
“This is important, and it may lead to other inquiries,” Nikitas said after the hearing.
Scheller said it would probably take the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory a few months to complete the DNA testing.
The DNA will be compared with Rudolph Zink, who was a state witness during the trial in 1997. The other man was Zink’s roommate when Shervanian was killed, according to the appellate court opinion filed in May.
Bloody fingerprints inside a rubber glove left inside Shervanian’s bedroom led to Rozo’s arrest. The retired professor’s teeth, nose and ribs were broken. He also was strangled before his death. Fifty wounds were inflicted on him before he died.
At his sentencing hearing in 1997, Rozo asserted that an ex-boyfriend of his and a former lover of Shervanian’s had killed the professor.
Rozo is in custody at Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet. His projected parole date is June 4, 2034, according to Illinois Department of Corrections.