By Gintautas Dumcius | firstname.lastname@example.org MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
BOSTON — Reversing course on a bid for a new trial, the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office said they’re ending the prosecution of Sean Ellis in a case involving the armed robbery and first-degree murder of a Boston police detective.
The Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, in 2016 affirmed a judge’s order for a new trial against Ellis, who had been convicted of murdering Boston Police Detective John Mulligan during a 1993 armed robbery.
Mulligan was shot five times in the face while off-duty in the Roslindale section of Boston.
“The nature of the evidence has not changed in 25 years but the strength of it has declined with time,” John Pappas, the acting Suffolk County District Attorney, said at a press conference. “Moreover, the involvement of three corrupt police detectives to varying degrees in this investigation has further compromised our ability to put the best possible case before a jury.”
Pappas announced the decision as Rachael Rollins, who won the race for Suffolk DA in November 2018, prepares to assume the office.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said Ellis is “culpable” for Mulligan’s murder. But he added that he agrees with Pappas’ decision.
Ellis was convicted of possessing the murder weapon and Mulligan’s stolen service weapon, and those convictions remain in place.
Ellis was tried separately from a co-defendant, Terry Patterson. Each blamed the other for the murder, according to Pappas.
Ellis served 22 years for the Mulligan murder, while Patterson served 12. Ellis was released on bail in 2015.
“Mr. Ellis was near the scene of the crime moments before it was committed, he fled the scene in its aftermath, and he possessed the murder weapon in the days that followed,” Pappas said. “ The most likely critical issue at a new trial, then, would not be whether Mr. Ellis was involved in Det. Mulligan’s homicide, but rather the level of his involvement with his convicted co-defendant, Terry Patterson.”
Ellis had said Patterson was behind the robbery and the murder. They allegedly left the scene together.
Eyewitness testimony of Ellis “crouching” by Mulligan’s police car has “faded over the decades” since the 1995 trial, according to Pappas.
The three corrupt police detectives, who were involved in the investigation to “varying degrees,” were Detectives Kenneth Acerra, Walter Robinson and John Brazil, Pappas said.
The three “disgraced themselves and tarnished their badges in a wide variety of criminal conduct unrelated to this case – the extent of which was unknown to prosecutors or defense counsel in 1995,” Pappas continued, but added that there is no reliable evidence that the three offered up false evidence.
Mulligan also had allegations of misconduct leveled against him.
According to the Boston Globe, Mulligan and two of the detectives “had been accused of participating in the armed robbery of a suspected drug dealer 17 days before Mulligan was killed.” The two detectives were Robinson and Acerra.
In 2016, after the court’s approval for a motion for a new trial for Ellis, the Suffolk DA’s office vowed to move ahead. Some uncovered documents on the police corruption could have provided Ellis’s first attorney with an alternative strategy at trial, the court ruled.
A defense “lawyer today would argue that [Mulligan] was involved, and that they had a motive to protect themselves and their criminal enterprise – even at the cost of fully investigating a fellow officer’s homicide,” Pappas said. “Unfortunately, no matter how irrelevant their corruption might be to John Mulligan’s murder, it is now inextricably intertwined with the investigation and critical witnesses in the case.”
The sentences for Ellis and Patterson are “insufficient to most of us,” Pappas said.
“But we as prosecutors must operate – always and unfailingly – through the evidence we can prove,” he added. “And the state of the evidence today makes it very unlikely that we would prevail at a new trial.”
©2018 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
By Tiffini Theisen Orlando Sentinel
CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A Florida woman hit a police officer with hunk of concrete and threatened to kill a second cop outside a Family Dollar before she was finally tackled into some bushes after a Taser missed her, police said Wednesday.
Jessica C. Blick, 37, had called 911 earlier, requesting an ambulance, but didn't give much information on the phone, according to the Cape Coral Police Department.
After two officers arrived, the Cape Coral woman fought them and tried to run away from them, at one point running into the street, before she was subdued and handcuffed, they said.
Once in handcuffs, Blick kicked one of the cops in the thigh and groin until she was pepper-sprayed, police said.
She was taken to a hospital and later charged with aggravated assault and battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. She was booked into the Lee County Jail.
The incident happened just before 7 p.m. Tuesday.
©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
By Associated Press
KALKASKA, Mich. — A police report and bodycam video show that a Michigan sheriff accused of drunken driving asked a deputy not to arrest him.
Television station WJRT obtained bodycam video from the Nov. 16 arrest of Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson, who later pleaded guilty to driving while impaired.
Stephenson is heard on the video asking that he not be arrested. He says, "Jesus Christ, I'm a sheriff."
Stephenson was suspected of drunken driving after leaving a deer hunting camp in Kalkaska County. A breath test revealed a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit for driving.
The video shows a deputy knocking on Stephenson's window and waking him up while his vehicle was parked along the side of a road. The deputy tells Stephenson: "Someone thought you were dead over here."
Stephenson later issued a public apology for his "poor choice."
Information from: WJRT-TV, http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt
By Associated Press
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Eleven police officers in a suburb of Washington, D.C., have been suspended after two off-duty officers were wounded in what police believe to be an accidental shooting at a holiday party.
The Prince George's County Police Department said in a statement Monday that both officers were treated at hospitals and released early Sunday.
The statement says the department's internal affairs division is investigating the shooting, which occurred Saturday evening at a home in Prince George's County.
Investigators believe a single shot from a privately owned handgun wounded an officer in the hand and then ricocheted before injuring a second officer.
Police department spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan says the investigation will include whether alcohol was a factor in the shooting.
"We want to get down to the bottom of why that gun went off," she said at a news conference. "We are very fortunate that they weren't seriously injured."
CHICAGO — Chicago police say two officers investigating a shots-fired call on the city's far South Side have died after being struck by a train.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officers who were fatally hit Monday evening were 37-year-old Eduardo Marmolejo and 31-year-old Conrad Gary. Johnson said Marmolejo had been with the department for two and a half years and Gary for 18 months.
Johnson said the officers were struck shortly after 6 p.m.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a weapon was recovered and a person of interest is being questioned.
Local media reported that the officers were struck by a train operated by the South Shore commuter rail line that links northern Indiana and Chicago.