Man tried to lure 13-year into sex rendezvous less than 2 years after having his 1986 double murder conviction reversed, officials say

CHICAGO — Less than two years after having his life sentence for murder and arson reversed following advocacy by the Innocence Project, an Oak Lawn man was charged Friday with trying to meet a 13-year-old for sex.

Francisco Nunez, 59, was detained as a safety threat on a host of charges, including child pornography and attempted predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit learned in April that a minor had been receiving “inappropriate messages” on a social media app from Nanez, the office said. An investigator with the sheriff’s office began posing as the child, continuing the conversation via text. “Nanez sent sexually explicit messages and requested nude photos from the child,” according to a sheriff’s office press release.

Nanez allegedly arranged to meet with the child outside a Berwyn convenience store on Monday morning because he wanted to have sex. Sheriff’s office investigators arrested him when he arrived.

Francisco Nanez (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

“A forensic analysis of his cell phone revealed the conversations he had with the victim and non-explicit photos of the child,” the press release stated.

In addition to the previously mentioned charges, he faces additional counts of predatory indecent solicitation of a child, traveling to meet a child, grooming, and possessing a controlled substance.

In July 2022, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office chose not to re-try Nanez and two other men, who all claimed that they were wrongly convicted of a 1986 fire that killed two people. All three men were sentenced to life in prison after jury trials.

Nanez’s road to freedom began in 2007 when one of his co-defendants saw an episode of Mythbusters on a prison television. The show’s hosts, who used home-grown experiments to test common myths, wanted to see if throwing a lit cigarette into a pool of gasoline could cause a fire. They concluded that it was not likely.

Since that scenario was relevant to the 1986 arson cases, Nanez’s co-defendant contacted an attorney, and the wheels of justice began turning. In July 2021, prosecutors in Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dismissed charges against Nanez’s two co-defendants. Foxx’s office vacated Nanez’s conviction at the same time.

Last May, Nanez filed a federal lawsuit seeking compensation from the city, as well as the prosecutors and Chicago police officers involved in the 1986 case. The matter is still pending.

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About Tim Hecke 300 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com