Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Coal Valley man has murder conviction vacated thanks in part to the Illinois Innocence Project

A Coal Valley man’s 2008 murder conviction was vacated Tuesday, thanks in part to the work of the Illinois Innocence Project.

Newly discovered evidence showed that Nathaniel Onsrud was not responsible for the death of his four-month-old son. Onsrud was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections Tuesday.

Onsrud is the 15th Innocence Project client to be released or exonerated. The project, founded in 2001, is housed at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Exculpatory documents were not disclosed to defense counsel. The Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office supported the request of the Innocence Project and a Chicago law firm to vacate Onsrud’s conviction, though the State’s Attorney cautioned that charges against Onsrud have not been dismissed.

“Our client maintained from day one he had nothing to do with the tragic death of his infant son,” said Innocence Project Chicago Legal Director Lauren Kaeseberg. “For the past 13 years, Nathaniel has fought to clear his name and has been through the unimaginable ordeal of losing his baby and then being wrongfully convicted of murdering him.”

This article was published in The State Journal-Register on June 24, 2020.