Boston Herald

30 years and the wait goes on
By J. M. Lawrence
Saturday, May 8, 2004


       M
ore than three weeks after a judge overturned his 1974 murder conviction, Laurence Adams is still behind bars waiting for the Suffolk DA's office to decide his fate after three decades.
     ``It's easy to say he's been in jail 31 years, what does a month matter, but if you or I were in that situation, you can imagine it would matter,'' said Adams' attorney John J. Barter.
     DA Daniel Conley's office blamed a two-week lag in receiving the judge's ruling coupled with the age of the case for the delay.
     ``We have no interest in keeping him in prison a day longer than the interests of justice warrant,'' said spokesman David Procopio.
     Superior Court Judge Robert A. Mulligan ruled Boston police withheld evidence supporting Adams' claims of innocence in the 1972 murder of MBTA porter James C. Corry. Jurors were never told the key witness was given release from prison for his testimony.
     Barter's research showed the witness was actually in prison at the time he claimed Adams confessed at a Dorchester home.
     The case is so old that state attorneys and investigators need time to ``get up to speed'' before deciding whether to appeal, retry Adams or drop the charges, Procopio said. A new trial is unlikely since the key witnesses have all died.
     Yesterday, Adams' mother, who is 81 and lives in Boston, said she had hoped her son would be home for Mother's Day.
     ``I've been waiting all these years, hoping and praying. I can wait a little longer,'' Mary Adams said.
     The judge's decision sat in a ``huge box of files'' containing the case and was not immediately opened, according to a spokeswoman for the trial courts. The April 15 order wasn't officially docketed until this week, according to Barter.


Associated Press
UPDATE

Wrongly Convicted Man Freed in Mass.

By: JAY LINDSAY (Thu, May/20/2004)

BOSTON - One of the last men to face the death penalty in Massachusetts walked out of a courtroom to freedom Thursday, 30 years after he was imprisoned for murdering a transit worker.

Laurence Adams, 51, was released on his own recognizance following a judge's decision last month to overturn his conviction. He said he harbors no grudge against prosecutors and police who put him in prison.

"You can't be bitter because you can't stop the clock," he said. "I did what I had to do in the circumstances in which I was placed. I did everything positive, and I hoped for this day."

Adams was sentenced to the electric chair in 1974, but the state's capital punishment law was abolished soon after.

He asked for a new trial seven years ago after police documents surfaced casting doubt on his guilt, including a statement from a witness who said two other people committed the murder.

Superior Court Judge Robert A. Mulligan vacated the conviction to "avoid a miscarriage of justice."

Prosecutors have until Monday to either ask for the charges to be dismissed or appeal Mulligan's decision. A spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said the office has not yet decided upon a response.

Adams said his immediate plans include going fishing and taking a bath, something he has not done in 30 years.

He was 21 when he was convicted of killing James Corry, a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority worker, on Nov. 27, 1972, during a robbery of cash boxes in a downtown Boston subway station.

Adams' attorney, John J. Barter, also found that the state's star witness had changed his story several times. Another witness recanted her testimony before she died.




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