Murder is one of the most serious crimes on the statute book. Killing another justifiably carries a long prison sentence in Illinois
But what if the defendant did not commit the murder? Cases in which people serve time for crimes they did not commit are more common that we would like to believe.
Nevest Coleman and Darryl Fulton may have served 23 years for a murder they did not commit, according to the Cook State Attorney’s office.
A report on ABC News stated DNA from the murder scene in 1994 points to another suspect.
Lawyers for the two men were in court pleading for them to be released from prison in August,
They point to new DNA evidence that may exonerate the two men.
The case relates to the killing of Antwinica Bridgeman, a 20-year-old whose body was found in the basement of Coleman’s home.
Coleman worked on the grounds keeping crew at Comiskey Park. Coleman along with his neighbor, Darryl Fulton, were subsequently charged with Bridgeman's murder. Before his arrest, Coleman had no criminal history.
His attorneys say they are skeptical that he could have committed such a serious crime.
The ABC report noted DNA from Bridgeman's clothes and fingernails was consistent with a serial rapist who remains at large. Lawyers for the two men claim their convictions follow confessions coerced by Chicago police. One of the detectives on the case is accused of other instances of misconduct.
The report quoted Chanequa Allen, Coleman's daughter. She was just two- years old when her father was jailed for the murder and rape of Bridgeman. Coleman's family hope the DNA evidence will exonerate him.
Attorneys for Coleman are calling for a judge to release him on bond pending the results of further DNA tests.
A judge is scheduled to consider Coleman's request to be released on August 18. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office concedes that Coleman’s case is the subject of an urgent review. It has called on the lab to expedite the DNA results.
Illinois has been the scene of several high-profile miscarriages of justice including the so-called Murders in the Park.
If you have been charged with a serious crime like murder, it’s vital to hire experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyers. Call us for a free consultation at (312) 229-0008.