In Massachusetts, three of the jurors who helped convict a man for the 1991 bombing that maimed on Boston police officer and murdered another are asking a federal judge to either grant Alfred Trenkler a new trial or free him. Trenkler was convicted in 1993 of making a bomb that killed Boston Police Officer Jeremiah J. Hurley Jr. and caused Boston Police Officer Francis X Foley to lose his eye, as well as his hearing in one ear.
Now, however, three of the jurors who helped put him behind bars are having doubts about the guilty verdict they reached and they are questioning whether he was wrongly convicted. The jurors sent letters to US District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel citing their doubts. Sheridan Kassirer, the jury forewoman in Trenkler’s criminal case, even has gone so far as to say that she thinks Trenkler may be innocence. All three jurors say they began to have doubts about the guilty verdict after reading a 700 page, unpublished manuscript written by a man who built a Web site for Trenkler.
Legal specialists say it is uncommon for jurors to have doubt about a verdict, especially one that was issued so long ago. Harvard Criminal Justice Institute Director Ronald Sullivan, however, says that the court can only act if new evidence, or evidence that had not been revealed before, has come to light.
Trenkler has long maintained his innocence and for years has sought to have the verdict appealed or his sentenced reduced. In 2007, the US Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Zobel could review the case based on Trenkler’s claims that there was new evidence that could set him free. Zobel reduced Trenkler’s double life sentence to 37 years in prison, but last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reinstated his original sentence.
Trenkler’s co-defendant and ex-lover Thomas Shay was also convicted for the same crimes in 1998, but the First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the verdict. He was released from prison in 2002 after pleading guilty to a lesser offense but he was put back in jail in 2007 for probation violations.
Jurors who convicted in ’93 ask judge to retry case, Boston.com, February 23, 2008
It’s double-life in prison for Trenkler, Wicked Local, August 6, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Alfred Trenkler, Innocent Committee
Wrongful Murder Convictions, Massachusetts
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