On April 5th, Nevest Coleman will rejoin the Chicago White Sox at their first home game of the season as a grounds crew member. Coleman previously worked as a grounds crew member in 1993, a year before his wrongful arrest.
In 1997, Coleman was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault. In 2016, nearly 20 years after Coleman’s conviction, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s conviction integrity unit began reinvestigating Coleman’s case and sent items to the Illinois State Police crime lab for testing. Coleman and his co-defendants were excluded from the DNA found on the victim’s sweatshirt, underwear, and fingernail clippings. The testing indicated the presence of an unidentified profile, which was ultimately submitted to CODIS and matched a man who had been convicted of several rapes and lived in the same area as the victim. Coleman was exonerated in 2017.
After Coleman was released on December 1, 2017, his goal was to rejoin the White Sox on the same grounds crew. Coleman told MLB.com, “They didn’t have to hire me back. I appreciate the White Sox giving me the opportunity to come back to work.”
When Coleman walked onto the field for the first time, he was surprised at how different it looked. He noted the heightened security, the high definition video boards and the updated signs. “Back then, I just came in Gate 4 and went right in the door. That was it. There are a lot of security gates you have to go through nowadays.”
Unlike most White Sox fans, Coleman is hoping for rain at the first home game. “I hope it does rain, so I can run on the field and put the tarp out,” Coleman told MLB.com. “I can go on the field, get soaking wet and cover the field up.”
“I saved your spot for you!” Man freed from prison after 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit is welcomed back to his job with the Chicago White Sox with open arms. https://t.co/jvESGX7Bqb pic.twitter.com/06TS2I9dUW
— ABC News (@ABC) March 27, 2018