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Murder victim's family and accused fight for justice together

RANTOUL -- A man is fighting to get his reputation back.
RANTOUL -- A man is fighting to get his reputation back. Wrongly convicted, prosecutors have decided not to fight his petition for innocence.

"I am not comfortable being put in the position of arguing that someone hasn't proven their innocence when I know I can't prove their guilt," says Julia Rietz, States Attorney for Champaign County.

The decision removes one obstacle for Andre Davis. He spent 32 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Prosecutors say too much time has past.

It's a small victory for Davis but it's not what he really wants. The motion makes life after prison a little bit easier for Andre Davis.

"It's a good system when it works fairly so I have faith in the criminal justice system when it's working fairly."

Davis says it's the only break he's ever gotten from Champaign County. The State's Attorney decided not to fight a petition that would clear his name but it's nowhere near justice.

"I'm not getting any justice. Brianna Stickle isn't getting any justice. I mean, they let my petition go through? So what?" says Davis.

In 1980, 3-year old Brianna Stickle was found raped and murdered in Rantoul. Julia Rietz says most of the evidence convicting Davis is gone, along with witnesses. It's the same reason she's not planning to re-open the case.

"It's frustrating to have a homicide case that's not resolved, but sometimes I believe there's a higher power than ourselves and ultimately some things need to be left to that higher power," says Julia Rietz.

That higher power is what's driving a woman in Iowa to solve the crime herself. From her kitchen in Davenport, Judi Stickle, combs through hundreds of case documents; all related to Andre Davis' case. Brianna Stickle was her niece.

"I sit there and I picture how tiny she was. It's not over, it's just the beginning. It's not over," says Stickle.

Stickle started looking into her niece's case almost 20-years ago. She got a feeling Andre Davis wasn't the man who killed her.

She wrote her first letter to him in prison and kept writing even though he didn't respond for months. Stickle says she kept writing, because she wanted answers.

"That's all I could think of is the things that I've done that he missed out on," says Stickle.

Stickle introduced Davis to Northwestern's Center for Wrongful Convictions. They gave Davis the tests proving DNA at the scene wasn't his and instead belonged to the man who owned the house where Brianna was found.

"It was mind-blowing to me. She became my biggest advocate for my innocence," says Davis.

"I do believe the man who did that, did it then, he's done it again," says Stickle.

Now she's advocating for an arrest. Stickle has created a Facebook page and says she'll keep looking for the one clue leading to justice for Brianna.

"I think if she was looking down, she would think we were doing the right thing," says Stickle.

Prosecutors say the DNA evidence isn't enough to arrest the homeowner. For Davis, there has not been a date set to appear before a judge.

Search Facebook to find page Justice for Brianna Stickle.
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