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Frederick Clay: Wrongfully Convicted Wins Freedom After Four Decades In Prison.

Frederick Clay wins freedom, innocence back after nearly four decades in prison

‘38 years for something I didn’t do’

Chris Villani Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Boston man who has maintained his innocence through nearly four decades behind bars was granted his freedom after Suffolk prosecutors admitted his 1981 murder conviction was tainted by discredited witness identification and police tactics.

“To quote Sam Cooke, ‘it’s been a long time coming,’ ” Frederick Clay said after walking out of the Suffolk Superior courtroom yesterday. “It’s been 38 years for something I didn’t do. I’m overwhelmed and sort of nervous.”

Clay, 53, emerged from the Boston courthouse with his arms raised and a wide smile on this face, having last experienced freedom when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer was at the top of the charts. He was convicted of the 1979 execution-style murder of 28-year-old cab driver Jeffrey Boyajian, who was shot five times in the head at a Roslindale housing project.

“From day one, they told me I was facing natural life in prison,” Clay told reporters, “and that scared me. But I was not going to voluntarily put myself in prison for something I didn’t do.”

Professing his innocence cost Clay at his first parole hearing in 2015, when the three board members who denied his release wrote that he had “yet to accept responsibility for his actions.” And though Clay won his freedom in a 2016 parole hearing and was scheduled to be released next week, he was able to walk out of prison an innocent man in the eyes of the law.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley joined a motion by Clay’s attorneys to toss the conviction and said he wouldn’t seek a new trial.

“He may very well be innocent, but based on what I know now, I cannot say that with absolute certainty,” Conley said. “But I do say this, he did not receive a fair trial.”

One of the witnesses to the crime said he was sure about Clay’s guilt after being hypnotized by police, then a widely-accepted practice thought to enhance recollection. A second witness ID’d Clay after being promised he and his family could be relocated from their housing project if he helped investigators.

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Frederick Clay, center, who was wrongfully convicted of a 1979 murder, leaves Suffolk Superior Court with attorneys Jeff Harris, left, and Lisa Kavanaugh yesterday. (photo credit: Angela Rowlings)

by Chris Villani via bostonherald.com

A Boston man who has maintained his innocence through nearly four decades behind bars was granted his freedom after Suffolk, MA prosecutors admitted his 1981 murder conviction was tainted by discredited witness identification and police tactics. “To quote Sam Cooke, ‘it’s been a long time coming,’ ” Frederick Clay said after walking out of the Suffolk Superior courtroom yesterday. “It’s been 38 years for something I didn’t do. I’m overwhelmed and sort of nervous.”

Clay, 53, emerged from the Boston courthouse with his arms raised and a wide smile on this face, having last experienced freedom when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer was at the top of the charts. He…

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