MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A man wrongfully convicted of a 2002 sexual assault has been found dead in a parked car in Madison.
The family of 49-year-old Forest Shomberg said he was discovered Friday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported in a story published Monday.
Shomberg spent six years in prison for a sexual assault he didn’t commit and was exonerated based on DNA evidence in 2009. The conviction stemmed from an assault of a UW-Madison student who was pulled off the street and violently groped before breaking free of her attacker.
Shomberg’s death came just days after he completed a prison term on another charge and just weeks after he won a battle against the state Claims Board, which rejected his request for compensation for the years he spent wrongfully incarcerated.
On June 8, an Eau Claire County circuit judge found that the Claims Board failed to investigate Shomberg’s innocence before rejecting his claim for $102,500.
Family member Sue Desautel of Wausau said Shomberg planned to press his claim in court next month and that his surviving family will take up the fight.
Shomberg landed back in prison as the result of an aborted suicide attempt in 2011 in which he fired a gun into the front yard of his Madison home. Shomberg, who had a lengthy criminal record prior to his wrongful conviction, was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. In a letter, he told U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that he was thinking about killing himself but changed his mind after he fired a test shot into the ground.
Crabb sentenced Shomberg to a year in prison, part of which he served in an alcohol and drug abuse treatment center.
He was released on Aug. 5, just 11 days before he was found dead.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj