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Lawyer's Book Leaves Jurors in Doubt

A book by a former lawyer and occasional blogger has three jurors doubting their 1993 conviction of a man in connection with a 1991 bombing that killed one Boston police officer and maimed another. A report today in The Boston Globe says that three jurors who sat in the trial of Alfred W. Trenkler, including the forewoman, now doubt his guilt. All three have written letters to U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel urging her to grant Trenkler a new trial or set him free.

The three jurors were swayed by Morrison Bonpasse, a Boston University School of Law graduate who lives in Maine and is employed as president of an association that advocates for a single global currency (for which he also maintains an occasional blog). Bonpasse has written a 700-page manuscript, titled "Perfectly Innocent," in which he lays out his arguments that Trenkler and alleged co-conspirator Thomas Shay are innocent. Bonpasse also operates a Web site, the Alfred Trenkler Innocent Committee, devoted to collecting information about the case.

Bonpasse's manuscript convinced Sheridan Kassirer, the jury's forewoman. After reading it, she wrote to Judge Zobel, "After studying the many details of the Alfred W. Trenkler case I am convinced that he is innocent. I hope you will see to it that justice prevails and he is released." For jurors to express this level of doubt, 20 years after the fact, is highly unusual, a former Boston prosecutor, Matthew Machera, tells the Globe. "To have three of them doubt their unanimous verdict and then after 20 years, that's almost unheard of. It's one thing if one juror writes, but if three separate jurors write, that is unbelievable."

Trenkler was convicted on three counts related to his alleged involvement in manufacturing the bomb that killed Officer Jeremiah J. Hurley Jr. Prosecutors contended that the bomb was meant for the father of Shay, who was Trenkler's lover. Instead, it killed Hurley and injured another officer as they tried to diffuse it. Hurley's widow remains convinced of Trenkler's guilt, she tells the Globe.

Bonpasse wrote the book based on jailhouse interviews with Trenkler, news reports, police reports, trial transcripts and other court documents. "I'm just appalled that the system is in fact very flawed," he told the Globe. "I'm appalled that the system is so slow and finds it so difficult to open its eyes and see what it's done to so many people."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 23, 2009 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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