I-Team: Wrongfully Convicted Las Vegas Man in Need of Work - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Wrongfully Convicted Las Vegas Man in Need of Work

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LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas man who spent 22 years in prison for a murder he did not commit is no longer behind bars. However, while Fred Steese might have his freedom, he doesn't have a home or a job.

The I-Team first uncovered the story of Steese when he was still locked up in prison after a jury convicted him of the 1992 murder of Gerard Soules. After a series of I-Team stories, a Las Vegas judge heard newly-discovered evidence and declared Steese as "factually innocent" for that murder.

After his release, Steese stayed with his sister near Victorville, California, but he couldn't find work there so he ended up moving back to Las Vegas. It's the one city he felt he knew after 22 years in prison.

Steese is hungry, homeless and almost penniless when he makes his first visit to the unemployment office to find work. He tells a Nevada Job Connect worker he has been locked up for two decades. It is painfully awkward for him to share that information and he looks down at his hands as he hands over his resume.

Most ex-convicts have a crime to explain away, but Steese doesn't. He spent the majority of his adult life in a Nevada prison for a murder he didn't do.

The Nevada Job Connect Worker asks him a few questions. "Are you on probation or parole?"  Steese answers "no."

Steese didn't waste his time in prison. He learned several trades, but age is catching up to the 51-year-old. He says he is not choosy when it comes to work.

"Anything I can find. Welding, maintenance, cook, dishwasher, I'll take anything," he said.

Steese does get plenty of calls from people interested in him. However, they are college recruiters looking to get Steese to take out loans to go to school.

"You can look all you want. I'm trying to get a job so I can have a place to stay and eat, I ain't got time to go to school," Steese said.

His attorneys tell him it could take years -- if ever -- before he gets any money from Nevada for wrongfully imprisoning him. In order for Steese to sue, his attorney faces the challenge of proving prosecutorial misconduct two decades after the fact.

At this time, the state has no plans to settle with Steese.

 

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