A 2019 murder conviction in the death of Sarah Washington was recently affirmed by the Third District Appellate Court of Illinois.
The court announced its decision on Nov. 19 in the case against Rex Frank, 29, Kankakee. Frank is serving a life sentence in the state prison in Menard, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
Frank was convicted of killing the 25-year-old Kankakee woman who was an aspiring model. Washington was shot twice while in her apartment and a family member discovered her body.
Frank argued that the Kankakee County Circuit Court erred by admitting evidence from other crimes — specifically the 2014 slaying of Rian Maiden — at trial. He also argued that prosecutors committed prosecutorial misconduct during its rebuttal argument.
In its opinion, though, the appeals court disagreed and ruled the prosecution and conviction stand. In its ruling, the court said the prosecution filed a motion prior to trial seeking to admit the additional evidence.
The court said, “On July 13, 2015, the defendant pled guilty to first-degree murder for the shooting death of Rian Maiden which occurred on or about July 4, 2014. The motion sought to admit certain details regarding Maiden’s murder because the .380-caliber cartridge cases found next to Maiden’s body matched the cartridge cases found next to Sarah’s body.”
At the time of Frank’s 2019 trial in Washington’s death, he was serving a 45-year prison sentence on his conviction of first-degree murder in the Maiden case.
While a weapon was not found in either homicide, an Illinois State Police forensic scientist testified in 2019 that the shell casings found at each crime scene were shot by the same type of weapon.
Forensic evidence led Kankakee police investigators to charge Frank with Washington’s murder in April 2016. Police say that on July 4, 2014, Maiden walked in on Frank, who had broken into Maiden’s Sun River Terrace home. Frank shot Maiden four times after forcing him to give up his PIN number and ATM card, according to police. Frank used money he withdrew to buy a ring and other items for a woman he was dating, police say.
Frank also appealed his guilty plea in the Maiden murder. That appeal remains pending.