Man Sentenced 20 Years Ago For Rape, Murder Will Remain in Prison Pending DNA Tests

A man who says he was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder 20 years ago is still behind bars after a judge ruled that more DNA testing is needed on his case before he can be released.

Nevest Coleman was convicted of rape and murder 20 years ago for the rape and murder of Antwinica Bridgeman in the basement of her home on the Chicago's South Side.

Coleman, then a 25-year-old groundskeeper at Comiskey Park and father of a 2-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son, and his alleged accomplice Daryl Fulton were sentenced to life in prison for the crime. 

Coleman was requested by Judge Dennis Porter to make the trip from the Menard Correctional Center for a hearing to determine if new DNA evidence is enough to prove his innocence and set him free.

According to his attorneys, new DNA testing matched semen on the victim's underwear and sweatshirt, as well as DNA from underneath the victim's fingernails, to that of a serial rapist, whose identity was not being released. 

"I have never had a case with as much probative and startling DNA evidence pointing to the true perpetrator," said attorney Russell Ainsworth. "And excluding and exonerating every other person who is supposed to have committed this crime--you just don’t see that."

There was no physical evidence against either but there was an allegedly coerced confession that lead to Coleman's conviction.

Still, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has opposed the release of Coleman. 

But his attorneys were hoping the judge would allow for Coleman's release pending a new investigation in the case. 

"Mr. Coleman is going to get justice, the question is when," Ainsworth said during last week's hearing.

In the meantime, Coleman has remained in custody and his family said they will continue their fight to see him come home for good.

"He came out and the energy in the room changed right away," Richard Coleman, Nevest's first cousin, said. "We want to get to the finish line."

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