WGLT, Bloomington-Normal’s public media, is partnering with the popular true crime podcast Suspect Convictions to explore the 1998 murder of a 3-year-old Bloomington girl, Christina McNeil.

Barton McNeil was convicted of killing his daughter, Christina, but has long maintained his innocence. He says his ex-girlfriend was the real killer—the same woman who 13 years later was convicted in a second McLean County murder. Now serving a life sentence in a southern Illinois prison, McNeil is pursuing exoneration with help from the Illinois Innocence Project.

Season 2 of Suspect Convictions will focus on the McNeil case. Each episode of Suspect Convictions will be broadcast during GLT’s Sound Ideas every Friday at noon and 6 p.m., starting Oct. 27. The podcast will also be available through popular apps like Apple iTunes and Stitcher. Every episode and additional materials will first be available at WGLT.org.

Each episode of Suspect Convictions will be broadcast during GLT’s Sound Ideas every Friday at noon and 6 p.m., starting Oct. 27.

Suspect Convictions producer Scott Reeder will partner with GLT News Director Emeritus Willis Kern on Season 2. The show’s successful first season, chronicling a 1990 Quad Cities murder, was a joint production with WVIK Quad Cities 90.3 FM.

“Scott’s partnership with fellow public radio station WVIK in the Quad Cities for the show’s first season was a great success,” said GLT general manager R.C. McBride. “WGLT is the perfect home for this kind of in-depth journalism. I know our audience will look forward to hearing and reading the work, and I hope this platform provides an opportunity for the GLT news team’s work to find a new audience.”

Reeder is a veteran freelance journalist based in Springfield.

“After 30 years in the news business, I’m honored to work with a journalist of the caliber of Willis Kern. He is a man of integrity and skill,” Reeder said. “Together we will explore intricacies of the murder of Christina McNeil and provide our listeners with differing perspectives on the evidence. We hope to honor the memory of this precious, little girl and help ensure justice is done.”

GLT’s Sound Ideas, the station’s flagship newsmagazine show, airs at noon and 6 p.m. every weekday. It also streams at WGLT.org and is available on the NPR One app.

Suspect Convictions’ first season is available at SuspectConvictions.

  1. Jan Thurston says:

    Sounds like they are doing good. What will it take to get Richards case looked at?

    Jan Thurston


  2. parchangelo says:

    Richard’s appeal’s started and is working to get a new trial for him. If that happens it might interest a series such as this to cover the trial and review his case.


  3. John C. Ross says:

    November 14th, 2017


    To all concerned…

    Using the phone from the prison’s recreation yard, I have been able to listen to several episodes of the 15 part Suspect Convictions series. Airing first on the WGLT FM radio station, and then available on the web, I again thank the noble producers of this series, Scott Reeder and Willis Kern, for providing a truth-telling forum regarding the 1998 Bloomington murder of my young daughter, Christina. And the many injustices to follow, still on-going.

    Among the many interviewees on the Suspect Convictions program, one had the unenviable task of trying to maintain my long-known wrongful conviction. Requiring a defense of psycho-killer Misook Nowlin (aka Misook Wang), State’s Attorney Jason Chambers has assigned the dirty work to Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) Mary Kohl. Followers of the case are aware that I was deemed my child’s killer by default, premised entirely upon Prosecutor’s false claim that my girlfriend, Nowlin, the otherwise transparently obvious suspect, had nothing to do with Christina’s killing.

    In contrast, I vehemently maintained since DAY 1 that Nowlin, not alone, was behind my daughter’s murder; a certainty based upon countless events, facts, and circumstances personally known to me in the months, weeks, days and even hours leading up to Christina’s death, all of which were known to police and prosecutors.

    In addition to that which linked Nowlin to my daughter’s death, her later murderess premeditated scheme resulting in the Bloomington killing of her mother-in-law, Wenlan Tyda, under a litany of circumstances paralleling Christina’s murder, has affirmed to all that Nowlin is a genuine serial killer responsible for Christina’s murder after all, as was apparent even back in 1998. No longer alone in my now 19 year pursuit of justice on behalf of my daughter, many are appalled at the use of my now known wrongful conviction as a means of covering for an obvious child killer.

    During the introduction of each episode of suspect convictions ASA Ms. Kohl is heard herself to say that I myself must be Christina’s killer because only myself and Christina “had permission” to be in the residence that night. The convoluted logic of this remark escapes me. By this strained reasoning, ASA Kohl means to say that Misook must be innocent because I didn’t invite her into my apartment to kill my daughter? The presence of the window related intruder evidence serves as a testament that the killer didn’t “have permission” to be there. Given “permission” to be at my residence, the killer wouldn’t need to break in through the ground floor bedroom window in the dead of night.

    Myself being surrounded by countless burglars of home invaders of the word case over the last two decades, some of which were rapists and murderers, I have yet to hear such an offender claim to have been given “permission” to enter the residence, by the victim’s themselves, to then be victimized.

    Having just bitterly ended my relationship with my increasingly unstable now-estranged-girlfriend hours earlier, why would I then grant “permission” for Nowlin to be in my apartment? I wouldn’t, and didn’t.

    Lacking “permission” to be in the apartment hardly precludes a killer from easily breaking in an already open ground floor bedroom window, nor does Nowlin’s “permission” to be at my residence preclude her from having been there. The fact is, my bitter break up with Misook the evening leading up to Christina’s murder, witnessed by many, some of whom were interviewed by the cops, would have conveyed to Nowlin in no uncertain terms that she was no longer permitted at my home, EVER.

    Too little too late did I come to recognize the danger Nowlin (and her like-minded-pals) posed to me and Christina. Finally, conforming to her unholy Nowlin-friendly agenda, I’d like ASA Kohl to address the suspicious timing of my daughter’s murder just hours after severing my relationship with Nowlin, at a time when Nowlin and her closest pals were unable to account for their whereabouts. Sincerely, Bart


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