Nathson “Nate” Fields
Nathson “Nate” Fields was acquitted on April 8, 2009, of double homicide for which he spent almost 20 years in prison, including more than 11 years on death row.
The crime occurred in 1984, when Nate, a young gang leader at the time, was accused with a co-defendant of killing rivals of the El Rukn gang in Chicago. The judge in his case, Thomas J. Maloney, took a $10,000 bribe, but returned the money when he discovered he was under federal investigation. The judge went to prison for 13 years, and Nate’s conviction was overturned when the corruption was uncovered.
After Maloney’s conviction, Nate was granted a new trial in 1998, but he remained incarcerated until a former death row inmate, Aaron Patterson, bailed him out in 2003. In the retrial, as in similar cases of wrongful conviction, his co-defendant pled guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for testimony against Nate. But his story had a different ending; Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan swiftly acquitted Nate of all charges, the final act in an infamous murder case involving judicial corruption, graft, and greed.
Nate now lives in the Chicago area with his partner Maggie Parr. Following the not guilty verdict handed down by Judge Gaughan, Nate said, “I feel like my prayers have been answered. . . . It’s been over 20 years of this ordeal for my family and my friends, and now with it coming to an end, it’s like a dream come true.” Nate enjoys talking to college and church groups, and especially to teens.