Fri, Nov 15|
Free At Last! The Wrongful Conviction of Sean Ellis
A Celebration of Sean's Freedom, former student from Needham Public Schools who served almost 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Hosted by Needham Human Rights Committee.
Time & Location
Nov 15, 2019, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Needham, 300 Hillside Ave, Needham Heights, MA 02494, USA
About the event
Sean K. Ellis faced an arduous journey through the criminal justice system, beginning in 1995 when he was wrongfully convicted at his third trial for the 1993 robbery and murder of Boston Police Detective John J. Mulligan. His first two trials ended in mistrial due to hung juries. Despite the life sentence he received, Sean consistently maintained his innocence, spending 21 years, 7 months, and 29 days behind bars. Justice finally began to prevail in May 2015 when Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball overturned his convictions. She ruled that police corruption and prosecutorial misconduct marred his trial, emphasizing that true justice had been denied. Sean was granted bail to await a new, fair trial, and on June 6, 2015, he regained his freedom.
Preparation for Sean's fourth trial for the murder of Detective John Mulligan commenced, with defense attorneys Rosemary Scapicchio and Jillise McDonough determined to prove his innocence. Unexpectedly, in December 2018, Suffolk County's Acting District Attorney announced the dismissal of robbery and murder charges against Sean. The culmination came in 2021 when Judge Robert Ullman overturned Sean's 1995 weapons possession conviction. Sean's record was finally clear, marking a significant turn of events. In 2021, the City of Boston awarded him $16 million as compensation for the misconduct by Boston police, acknowledging the immense toll that his wrongful incarceration had taken on his life.
Sean's journey serves as a poignant testament to the perseverance and resilience of individuals who are wrongfully convicted. His story resonates not only with the need for reform within the criminal justice system but also with the ongoing struggle against racial bias. The celebratory event commemorating Sean's freedom highlighted the critical work of the New England Innocence Project and the broader fight against wrongful convictions in Massachusetts.