Justice for Sean Ellis

Sean K. Ellis spent nearly 22 years in prison for the 1993 murder of Boston Detective John Mulligan. He always maintained his innocence, and in 2015 the courts overturned his conviction, ruling that "justice was not done" - a decision upheld by the Mass. SJC in 2016. He will be retried in May 2018.

LETTER FROM SEAN ELLIS

In fall 2013 Sean Ellis sent letters to the Urban League, NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, and a dozen other social justice and legal organizations, asking their help in "bringing attention and a voice" to rectify his wrongful conviction for the 1993 murder of Boston Detective John Mulligan. Here is the text of that letter:

My name is Sean K. Ellis.  I am currently incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk, serving a natural life sentence for a crime I did not commit. Since my arrest, I have dedicated myself to proving my innocence.  My attorney and my family have been instrumental in this endeavor. For the last 10 years, my attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, has not only been my representative, she has been integral in uncovering the hidden truths about the elements of my case and who may have killed the victim, [Det.] John J. Mulligan. I did not do it!

I am a 39-year-old native of Boston, Massachusetts. I was schooled in the Needham Public School system until transferring to Dorchester High where I eventually graduated. I am the father of a beautiful young lady name Tatianna. Unfortunately, I lost my father in December and my mother is getting older seemingly fast.

While growing up, I had a few run-ins with the law. However, this is my first and only incarceration. Since being incarcerated I have invested in my growth and development as a human being by participating in many diverse programs such as:  Intro to Spectrum, Menswork, Health Awareness, Four Phases of Alternatives to Violence Project, Success in Leadership and Communication in Speech Craft, Post Grad Math Skills, Jericho Circle and Jericho Circle Intensive (where I continue to be a facilitator/Circle Guide).  I am on the Board of Directors of Second Thoughts Inc. (an inmate-run program at MCI-Norfolk), and I am also an active member who takes part in counseling troubled youth. 

Furthermore, I am one of five elected men who comprise the Executive Board of the Norfolk Inmate Council. As a member of the Executive Board, my function is to meet with the superintendent and his administration to find viable solutions to the problems and issues that plague the population and facility. Overall, the Executive Board helps to maintain harmony amongst the staff and inmates.  Lastly, I have obtained my Paralegal Diploma from the Blackstone Career Institute. Rather than succumb to the negative pressures of this penal setting, I continuously work to prove my innocence and to better myself.  I only mention these accomplishments as a testament of who I am as a person.

I am the victim of a gross injustice! The Boston Police Department has chosen to deny public records requests in favor of covering up the real evidence in my case and concealing the unscrupulous activities of rogue/dirty cops who manufactured the evidence against me.

Detectives that investigated my case...Kenneth Acerra and Walter Robinson, have pled guilty to public corruption charges in federal court. A third detective, John Brazil, avoided prosecution by cooperating with federal authorities. All three of these detectives were responsible for producing the only evidence presented against me at trial. The integrity of this investigation was compromised from the very start with the involvement of Detective John Brazil and his involving both Detectives Acerra and Robinson -- two non-homicide detectives. In fact, ironically, it was Detective Acerra's niece that identified my photograph from a photo array, only after speaking privately with him and Detective Robinson. This happened on the heels of selecting two photographs of different people.

Attorney Scapicchio has tirelessly worked to uncover other substantial evidence that further highlights this injustice. Her work has culminated into the filing of a motion for new trial with an argument of Actual Innocence being presented. Aside from the new trial motion, Attorney Scapicchio has filed a civil lawsuit against the Boston Police Department and the City of Boston seeking the production of documents/evidence relevant to proving my innocence.  I am requesting that [you] join on with this endeavor.

Apart from the civil lawsuit, I still need your help.... in bringing attention and a voice to this injustice. I believe that my attorney, my family and I would benefit from having your support...Will you stand with us?  Please do not sit quietly when your voice can help free an innocent man! 

You can contact my attorney if you have any questions about my case, and/or if you are interested in learning what you can do to help...

Thank you for your time and attention on this very important matter.

Respectfully,

Sean K. Ellis

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FOLLOW UP: A Boston-based petition requesting a new, fair trial for Sean Ellis garnered more than 5,000 signatures.

EPILOGUE: On May 5, 2015, Sean Ellis's murder and armed robbery convictions were overturned by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol S. Ball, who ruled that "justice was not done" due to Brady violations by the prosecutors who tried him, and the bias of three investigating detectives with whom the victim committed robberies.  Now 41, Ellis was released on bail on June 3, 2015, and is spending time with his family, readjusting to civilian life after being incarcerated since age 19.

Sean in June 2015, flanked by transition counselors Lawrence Robinson and Lyn Levy of Span, Inc.

Sean in June 2015, flanked by transition counselors Lawrence Robinson and Lyn Levy of Span, Inc.

Free at last, June 3, 2015. Sean Ellis leaves Boston's Suffolk Superior Court holding his mother, Mary's, hand.  Arrested at age 19,  he spent more than half his life in prison for a crime he maintains he did not commit.  (Getty Images)

Free at last, June 3, 2015. Sean Ellis leaves Boston's Suffolk Superior Court holding his mother, Mary's, hand.  Arrested at age 19,  he spent more than half his life in prison for a crime he maintains he did not commit.  (Getty Images)

Copyright 2013-17 Elaine A. Murphy. All rights reserved.