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Government

QC Man Out of Prison After 12 Years

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IL DOC website
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Illinois Department of Corrections

A Quad Cities man is free after his conviction for killing his four-month-old son was thrown out.

Michelle O'Neill reports Nathaniel Onsrud has served 12 years of a 60-year sentence. 

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Credit submitted / Rock Island County
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Rock Island County
Dora Villarreal, Rock Island County State's Attorney (file)

Dora Villarreal, Rock Island County State's Attorney, says the Illinois Innocence Project contacted her about Onsrud's case, requesting a review.

Her own office then concluded the prosecutor failed to give important documents to the defense. 

The Illinois Innocence Project and his attorney say Onsrud's son, Dax, was born two months early and had significant medical complications.

He died while in Onsrud's care, and initial medical exams did not reveal foul play.

The innocence project says Onsrud's attorney encouraged him to plead guilty after detectives interviewed him twice and claimed he confessed. 

Jeff Terronez was the Rock Island County State's Attorney at the time, but Assistant State's Attorney, Margaret Osborn, handled Onsrud's case.

Villarreal says all of Osborn's cases will have to be audited. Osborn hasn't worked for the Rock Island County State's Attorney's office for several years. 

The Illinois Innocence Project says false confessions played a role in the wrongful convictions of nearly 100 people in the state.

It also says Onsrud’s case is the latest reversal in which faulty science was used to convict innocent people where no crime had actually occurred.

Onsrud is the 15th client of the Illinois Innocence Project to be released or exonerated.

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