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Judge: Sentence to stand in kidnapping, suffocation death

July 26, 2019

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A judge won’t re-sentence a woman convicted in the kidnapping and death of a northern Illinois businessman who suffocated while buried alive in 1987.

Friday’s ruling by Kankakee County Judge Michael Sabol came after attorneys for 57-year-old Nancy Rish argued that a new sentence was warranted because of a change in Illinois law designed to benefit people who can show their crimes were related to being abused. Rish’s attorneys contend that she unwittingly assisted onetime boyfriend Danny Edwards in the kidnapping of Stephen Small of Kankakee after Edwards abused him and threatened to kill her and her young son.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Sabol concluded that the law wouldn’t likely have changed the life sentence Rish received.

Small suffocated in a plywood box when a breathing tube running to the surface failed before a ransom could be paid.

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