Judge overturns remaining conviction against Sean Ellis
BOSTON (AP) — A judge on Tuesday threw out the remaining gun conviction against a man who spent who spent more than 20 years in prison for the killing of a police officer before his murder conviction was overturned.
The judge’s decision comes more than month after Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins asked the judge to grant a new trial for Sean Ellis so her office can drop the gun charge and put an end to the long-running legal saga, which she said was “tainted by significant and egregious police corruption and prosecutorial misconduct.”
Ellis, whose case was documented in the Netflix series “Trial 4,” was convicted in the 1993 killing of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan, but a judge in 2015 ordered a new trial on the murder and armed robbery charges after finding authorities failed to disclose evidence of corruption among investigating officers. Prosecutors announced in 2018 that they would not retry Ellis, but the 1995 firearm conviction stayed on his record.
In granting the request for a new trial Tuesday, Judge Robert Ullmann called it a “very sad chapter” in the history of the criminal justice system. Rollins has said she will move to drop the gun charge once the new trial was granted.
Ellis’ attorneys said they are grateful to the judge and to Rollins.
“Here the actions of the Boston Police in actively concealing their corruption and withholding evidence resulted in Sean Ellis serving 22 years of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit,” attorneys Rosemary Scapicchio and Jillise McDonough said in an emailed statement.
“It took 29 years to get here, but never once, did we waiver and justice prevailed,” they said.
Rollins said this “marks the end of a long and troubling chapter in Boston’s history.”
“We need to continue to work together as law enforcement partners to make sure the criminal and unconstitutional behavior that infected every part of the investigation into Detective Mulligan’s death, can never happen again,” Rollins said in an emailed statement.