Judge allows DNA, other testing on evidence from 1980s Palatine-area murder case

DNA and other testing will be done on some evidence from a murder-for-hire case in Palatine Township on the chance the results benefit a man in prison for his role in the scheme.

Ronald L. Kliner, 56, was convicted of serving as hit man in the February 1988 killing of Dana Rinaldi, who was shot five times in the head as she begged for her life outside her home. Kliner was sentenced to death after a jury convicted him of murder in 1996, but that was commuted to a life sentence in 2003 by former Gov. George Ryan.

Cook County prosecutors said the former Des Plaines resident was hired by the 28-year-old victim’s husband, Joseph Rinaldi, who wanted to escape his marriage and was willing to share a $130,000 life insurance payout to make it happen.

In a brief court hearing Friday in Rolling Meadows, Cook County Judge James Karahalios granted a request by Kliner’s defense attorneys for the evidence testing. Cook County prosecutors did not object.

“The Cook County state’s attorney’s office … makes no concessions or representations, either expressly or implicitly, that the results of this testing would be materially relevant evidence that would significantly advance a claim of actual innocence or entitle (Kliner) to any other form of relief,” according to court documents.

DNA, fingerprint and ballistics testing will done for blood and other specimens from Dana Rinaldi, spent shell casings and one live round found at the crime scene. There also will be testing of slides and tape with hair from the woman’s sweater, blouse, jeans and sweater jacket as sought in court documents filed by defense lawyer Alan Sincox and Tara Thompson from the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project.

Sincox said after court that evidence could be entered into a national DNA database and reveal a match to someone already in the system, possibly benefiting Kliner. He said the test results for the “long-shot” effort could be known in eight to 12 months.

“If they test the firearms stuff, say the shell casings and the bullets, and it turns out they have an identifiable pattern on it and they run it through the database and it matches to somebody in there who doesn’t have an alibi for the time and somehow is connected with (Joseph) Rinaldi or anything along those lines, then obviously it’s a slam dunk,” Sincox said.

Michael Permanian, a Chicago firefighter who authorities said recruited…

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