William Allen was 20 years old when he was sentenced to life without parole for a murder that he did not commit but was present for — a sentence that would not be possible today, thanks to a 2017 ruling by the state’s highest court. Meanwhile, the man who did commit the crime has been out of prison for more than a decade because he took a plea deal while Allen tried, unsuccessfully, to fight his case in court.
Now 47 years old, Allen is petitioning Massachusetts Governor Baker to commute his sentence so that he can be released from prison. Jim Braude was joined on Greater Boston by one of Allen’s co-counsel, former Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert Cordy, to discuss the case. Cordy said that both the prosecutor from the original case and most of the victim’s family support his commutation.
“It was the most compelling commutation petition I’d ever seen,” Cordy said about learning of Allen’s case. “This man, in 27 years, had completely remade his life. [He’s] done everything humanly possible to be eligible to return to the community… the community is very supportive of his coming back.”
WATCH: Man seeks clemency after 27 years in prison