Man freed after being wrongly imprisoned for 17 years is fatally shot in Chicago

17 Years, btbCHICAGO — On the day he was finally released from prison after murder charges were dropped, Alprentiss Nash vowed he would use his freedom studying to become a chef, learning about antique cars and traveling.

And in the nearly three years since, he kept true to his word, visiting New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta and learning to ski at a resort in Wisconsin. He also bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 1960 Buick Electra 225 and completed a culinary program.

“He was really happy to be free, and he never talked about his time in prison,” said Nash’s mother, Yvette Martin. “He wanted to just get past it and be happy. He was overjoyed and excited about building a new life.”

But on Tuesday afternoon, Nash’s second chance at life came to a tragic end as he was gunned down while leaving a currency exchange in Chicago, according to Chicago police and his family. A person of interest is being questioned, authorities said.

Nash’s family believes he was the target of an armed robbery.

After he was released from prison in August 2012, Nash obtained a certificate of innocence and a $200,000 payout from the state, his attorney said. And he was seeking millions of dollars in a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and a number of police officers.

As a result of the $200,000 payout and loans against the expected settlement of his lawsuit, Nash lived the good life, dressing extravagantly and driving a nice car. It could have attracted negative attention, his attorney and family said.

“He had been robbed last year,” said Nash’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, who helped him win his exoneration and was representing him in his lawsuit. “He was stressed out, and he felt pressured and that people were after him. People thought he had money.”

Close Nash relatives agreed.

“I think the money attracted the wrong people, and they were watching him,” said his cousin, Coby Adolph. “He worked hard to get back into society. Being locked up for so long … he was trying to get into the swing of things.”

Nash, 40, who grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, was convicted in the 1995 murder of Leon Stroud during a home invasion and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

During his 17 years in prison, Nash missed countless family celebrations, gatherings and milestones, including the funeral of his maternal grandmother and his son’s entire childhood.

But he also earned his GED diploma and wrote the legal brief that eventually helped him win his freedom. DNA testing linked another man to a ski mask found near the crime scene, clearing Nash of the crime. Cook County prosecutors refused to say he was innocent but dismissed the murder charges.

On his release, Nash said he was determined not to be bitter.

“I’m on a new journey,” he said that day. “As far as my life, it begins now, and I’m thankful.”

Back in Chicago, Nash took on life with an urgency, his family said. He re-established bonds with his younger sister and took an interest in the nephews and nieces he met for the first time. He visited his mother weekly, driving her to errands and walking her to the lakefront to relax. He spent time with his maternal grandfather on the West Side.

“He wanted to be a good uncle, so he’d check up on the kids,” said Nash’s sister, Robin Martin. “We’d talk on the phone for hours about our childhood, the time before he was taken away.”

He enrolled in a 13-week culinary arts program and took on an apprenticeship, said officials with Inspiration Corp.

“We had discussions about the stress of things he was experiencing, but he was always enthusiastic and faithful and determined to finish,” said Sharon Ako, who was the head chef trainer who instructed him. “He was hard working. He got along with the other students and he was genuinely liked. It took tenacity and diligence to stick with it and take orders and learn the skills he needed to learn.”

His family said Nash planned to move to New Orleans and open a restaurant but was taking life day by day in the meantime.

On Tuesday morning, his mother said Nash called her as he usually did. Hours later she learned he had been killed.

“I just screamed from my innermost belly because I wanted God to know I hurt,” Martin said.

As she moved about her modest apartment Wednesday talking about her first-born son, Martin paused and wept out loud. The tears rolled down her face.

“Nothing has ever felt so heavy on my heart,” she said. “All those years he was taken from us and to lose him again in a short amount of time.

“He got a second shot at life and then someone took it away. For nothing.”

On the day he was killed, Nash sent a text message to his attorney just 30 minutes before the shooting, telling her he was out looking for a job. Despite his certificate of innocence, he had difficulty finding work.

“He was trying to have a normal life,” Zellner said. “The streets are so vicious and so cruel.”

Source: MSN News

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