BOSTON (CBS) – A man wrongfully convicted of murder has been released after spending 30 years in jail.
In an emergency hearing at the state’s Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins asked the judge to grant a new trial for Robert Foxworth, who has been incarcerated for 30 years for a 1991 homicide for which he has maintained his innocence. Rollins also asked that Foxworth be immediately released due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He has always maintained his innocence during those thirty years – being denied parole twice at least in part because he would not admit guilt and ‘take responsibility’ for a crime he says he did not commit,” Rollins said.
This is why we created the Integrity Review Bureau – because after spending 30 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, Robert Foxworth will be home for the holidays.https://t.co/UrLCV8LFAS
— DA Rachael Rollins (@DARollins) December 23, 2020
The emergency filing said that Suffolk County’s Integrity Review Bureau found Foxworth’s constitutional rights were violated during the original trial. The violations included claims that a member of the prosecution team used threats to coerce the lone 15-year-old witness into identifying Foxworth. The witness has since recanted his testimony.
“When the Motion for a New Trial is granted, we will immediately enter a nolle prosequi, allowing Mr. Foxworth to start picking up the pieces of a life, 30 years of which were stolen from him,” Rollins said.
Foxworth was convicted of the 1991 murder of Kenneth McClean.
“I also spoke with the victim’s family and explained our position. Kenneth McLean’s widow, daughter, sister and nephew were on the call. This decision hurts them and certainly opens up old wounds. They are a very close-knit family and we spoke about all of the good things Mr. McLean did for his family and the community. He was a loving husband, father, brother and uncle and is still sorely missed by them thirty years later,” Rollins said.