Exonerated man returns to job as White Sox groundskeeper after 23 years in prison

CHICAGO -- After a two-decade long gap in his resume, Nevest Coleman returned to the grounds of Guaranteed Rate Field Monday.

Imprisoned for a rape and murder he didn't commit, Coleman was exonerated and released in November.

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On Monday, Coleman picked up right where he left off 23 years ago, as the Chicago White Sox welcomed him back with open arms.

It was a surreal moment for Coleman, reporting to Gate 4 with lunch bag in hand and walking the field with Jerry Powe and Harry Smith. The last time they punched the clock together was in 1994.

"I knew I got off work, and then next thing I knew I ain't see the streets no more. That's about all I knew," Coleman said.

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Coleman and co-defendant Darryl Fulton were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in Englewood. But in November, 23 years into their sentences, they were exonerated and released.

Coleman returned to his grounds keeping job for the White Sox in high-spirits, happy to pick up where he left off.

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"The past is the past now. There's no more anger upset frustration. When I was in there, I was miserable, but now I've got my loved ones behind my on my side, that misery is gone now," Coleman said.
His co-worker Jerry Powe, is now his boss.

"He was a good, excellent worker. We're glad to have him back," Powe said.

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And co-worker Harry Smith could hardly contain his excitement.

"I almost cried when I saw him because I hadn't seen him in a long time. I didn't even know he was even out," Smith said.

Coleman got straight to work, power-washing the area around Gate 4 and looking forward to a new life and White Sox Opening Day.

Coleman is a seasonal employee but he says he has his sights set on a full-time gig in the future.
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