Dear Potential Donors,
My name is Pamela Boykin. It was my personal pleasure to join the "Running For Innocence Team" (RFI) after the shocking release of Sean K. Ellis, my loved one on June 5, 2015. Sean served almost 22 challenging years for a crime he was wrongfully accused of; he was falsely charged and convicted with the terrible murder of Boston Police Detective, John J. Milligan in September of 1993. Although Sean maintained his innocence, two trial juries were unable to reach a verdict but a 3rd trial jury subsequently found him guilty of murder primarily based on circumstantial evidence.
Over the coarse of several years, Sean and I developed an extreme and intense relationship during his incarceration. I never imagined that I would care so passionately for a man who could possibly die in prison due to a crime he did not commit. For many years, we both struggled immeasureably with the emotional and psychological trauma of this entire situation.
It hurt me immensely that Sean consistently proclaimed his innocence but the courts continued to deny him a fair and new trial. Most of all, it tore me down that people continously called me hurtful names such as insane, idiotic, and crazy for loving and supporting an individual who people, media, and some of the Boston Police Department depicted as a "cold blooded cop killer."
With the help of GOD and the persistence and hard work of Rosemary Scapicchio, Sean's lawyer along with her legal team, his case was finally overturned by Judge Carol Ball. Rosemary was successful in convincing the judge that there was in fact police misconduct, conflict of interest, flawed evidence, and numerous other inconsistencies in Sean's case.
The New England Innocence Project (NEIP) was founded in 2000 with the objective of identifying and exonerating wrongly convicted men and women through the use of DNA evidence. In 2009, NEIP's goal was extended in order to consider cases in which other scientific testing or investigative evidence could establish an individual's claim of innocence. NEIP is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity organization that was modeled after the New York Innocence Project which was founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld at the Cardoza School of Law in New York in 1992.
NEIP played a significant role in providing the funds for private and expert investigators to unravel documents that Rosemary needed to help support Sean's claim of innocence. This process took a very extensive and dedicated amount of ground work and time. One of the strongest findings was that a police officer accused another police officer of Milligan's murder. This crucial report could have likely been instrumental in supporting Sean's innocence during his first trial.
This is why joining the "Running For Innocence Team" is dear to me. RFI was coordinated by Lisa Kavanaugh who is a public defender and innocence project litigator in New England. She is an avid runner who started the RFI campaign by running the 2014 New York City Marathon. Also, Lisa is a high spirited and passionate about seeking different ideas to raise funds for NEIP as well as seeking justice when there has clearly been a wrongful conviction. Presently, RFI has about 50 team members who find different avenues to raise awareness and money to help support the dedicated work of NEIP.
It was an great experience participate in my first Yankee Homecoming 5k race and race ever in Newburyport, MA on Sunday, July 28, 2015 along with Sean and some of our RFI team members. It felt surreal but awesome to be a part of a Running For Innocence campaign that not only supported Sean in a crucial way but also provided us an opportunity to participate and finish the race together. This was a first time accomplishment that Sean and I will cherish and share for the rest of our lives.
I lost a tremendous amount of confidence in the criminal justice system after Sean's wrongful conviction in 1993. Since the age of 5, I aspired to be a police officer that would help serve and protect the public, unfortunately, my mind changed.
One of the primary issues with the criminal justice system is the racial disparities of 62% blacks, 28% caucasians, and 7% Latinos deal with wrongful convictions. I never knew anything about the elements of wrongful convictions, the criminal justice system, or the prison culture until I experienced this traumatic situation.
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