Chicago White Sox welcome back groundskeeper who wrongly spent 23 years in prison

A man who spent 23 years in prison for a heinous crime he didn't commit was welcomed back to his old job as a groundskeeper with the Chicago White Sox on Monday.

Nevest Coleman’s conviction in a 1994 rape and murder was overturned in November after DNA evidence linked the crime to a serial rapist, the Chicago Tribune reported. Coleman was working for the White Sox when he was convicted.

"His first wish, before he wished for a hamburger, was to work for the White Sox," said Coleman's cousin, Richard Coleman. "That's exactly what I told them."

White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, helps Harry Smith Jr., left, and Jerry Powe with the tarp at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, helps Harry Smith Jr., left, and Jerry Powe with the tarp at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Coleman initially confessed to killing the 20-year-old woman, who was discovered in the basement of a home on Chicago's South Side where Coleman lived, but he later recanted.

Prosecutors initially pushed for Coleman to get the death penalty, according to the Tribune. However, several character witnesses, including three White Sox employees, spoke on Coleman’s behalf.

Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, laughs with friend and fellow grounds crew Harry Smith Jr., left, and friend and now supervisor Jerry Powe.

Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman, center, laughs with friend and fellow grounds crew Harry Smith Jr., left, and friend and now supervisor Jerry Powe. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP)

“Glad to see him out. Glad to see him back,” said Jerry Powe, who testified on Coleman's behalf as a character witness at his trial and who is now his supervisor. “I’m so happy for him, me and the White Sox.”

After his release, Coleman’s friends and family reached out to the White Sox organization. Coleman had expressed his desire to return to work once he was released.

The team gave him a job interview and soon welcomed him back to his old job as groundskeeper at Guaranteed Rate Field -- formerly known as Comiskey Park.

“Glad to see him out. Glad to see him back."

— Jerry Powe

In a statement, the Chicago White Sox organization said it was grateful “justice has been carried out” and thrilled to welcome Coleman “back to the White Sox family.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.