26 years unjustly in prison. Receives award for courage

The Innocence Project specializes in freeing inmates in prison for murder and sex crimes based on modern DNA evidence which proves they were innocent. They helped free Dewey Bozella by referring the case to a major law firm after discovering all the evidence had been destroyed.

Bozella took up boxing while he was incarcerated at New York’s Sing Sing prison. The sport helped him to channel his anger over being wrongfully convicted. He eventually became the light heavyweight champ of the prison and even got the opportunity to fight Golden Gloves champ Lou Del Valle.

While in prison, Bozella also met his wife Trena and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College and a master’s from New York Theological Seminary. He was a model prisoner but was denied parole several times because he wouldn’t admit that he was guilty of the murder.

Since his release, Bozella has been teaching boxing skills and discipline to young people. His dream is to one day open his own gym. For his triumph over adversity, he was given the 2011 ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The big break came when lawyers met with Arthur Regula, the lead detective in the case, who has since retired. He kept a copy of the original case file because he had doubts about the conviction and figured someone might come looking for the files someday. With this, the lawyers were able to prove witnesses were lying, another suspect had confessed, and the prosecution withheld this evidence.

After Bozella was freed he said he’s leaving behind what some cops and prosecutors did because he wants to live free from hate and resentment.

And here I was just blogging about Being resilient in a dysfunctional era. Bozella is an inspiring example of resilience, courage, and never giving up. “If they give you crap, make manure.”

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