Woman seeks new sentence for role in 1987 kidnapping

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KANKAKEE, Ill. –  A judge says he will consider arguments made by lawyers for a woman sentenced to life in prison for aiding in the 1987 kidnapping and death of a northern Illinois businessman.

Attorneys for Nancy Rish say she should be re-sentenced under a recent change in Illinois law designed to benefit people who can show their crimes were related to being abused.

Rish’s lawyers say physical abuse and threats from onetime boyfriend Danny Edwards led her to unwittingly assist his kidnapping of Stephen Small and attempt to extort $1 million from Small’s family.

The 40-year-old Small, who was buried alive in a plywood box, suffocated when a breathing tube running to the surface failed before a ransom could be paid.

The Illinois attorney general’s office oppose the effort by the 57-year-old Rish. The office notes the abuse Rish cites is not new and is not likely to have changed her sentence.

Kankakee County Associate Judge Michael Sabol said Monday he would issue a ruling July 26.

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