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updated: 7/5/2014 3:31 PM

Woman seeks clemency in buried-alive case

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  • Nancy Rish has been in prison for 27 years.

      Nancy Rish has been in prison for 27 years.

  • Nancy Rish, right, is escorted outside the Kankakee courthouse during her trial for the 1987 kidnapping and killing of Stephen Small.

      Nancy Rish, right, is escorted outside the Kankakee courthouse during her trial for the 1987 kidnapping and killing of Stephen Small.
    Associated Press/Oct. 24, 1988

  • Daniel Edwards

      Daniel Edwards

  • Daniel Edwards leaves court in Kankakee after his conviction in the 1987 kidnapping and killing of Stephen Small. Edwards, who has abandoned his own appeals, says he alone committed the crime.

      Daniel Edwards leaves court in Kankakee after his conviction in the 1987 kidnapping and killing of Stephen Small. Edwards, who has abandoned his own appeals, says he alone committed the crime.
    Associated Press/May 23, 1988

 
Associated Press

It was a heinous crime: a Kankakee businessman seized from his home, buried alive in a box and left to suffocate when a breathing tube failed before a ransom could be paid.

Now, one of two people imprisoned in the 1987 killing of Stephen Small is making a bid for freedom.

Nancy Rish says she was trapped in an abusive relationship with the drug dealer who plotted the kidnapping of Small, a member of a prominent media family. She says she knew nothing of it and was threatened at gunpoint for demanding an explanation as he forced her into the role of unwitting accomplice.

Those details never came out at trial because of missteps from her own lawyers.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board will hear the petition Tuesday in Chicago.

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