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Cornelius Usher


When the Leonard Shoe Company factory in Lynn, Massachusetts, opened for the day on March 15, 1902, workers discovered that there had been a break-in during the night and that tools and other small items had been stolen.
 
Shortly after this break-in, Cornelius Usher sold one of the stolen tools to a nearby pawnshop. When the police learned of this, they arrested Usher for the breaking and entering. Usher insisted he was innocent and that a man named Jack Coughlin had asked him to pawn the tools for him. Police sought Coughlin but were unable to locate him.
 
It is unknown whether Usher was represented by counsel at his trial, which ended in his conviction for breaking and entering. Usher was sentenced to a three to five year prison term.
 
Two years later, in April of 1904, police located and arrested John Coughlin. When news of Coughlin’s arrest was announced, a new witness, John Hart, contacted police and said he had been present when Coughlin asked Usher to pawn the tools. Hart appeared before the judge and testified to this encounter. In May 1904, Coughlin pleaded guilty to the breaking and entering at the Leonard Shoe Company and expressed remorse over an innocent man having suffered for this crime.
 
Governor John L. Bates granted Usher a full pardon on May 25, 1904, at which time he was freed from prison. On March 27, 1905, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts paid $1,000 to Usher as compensation for his nearly two years of imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.
 
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:MA
County:Essex
Most Serious Crime:Burglary/Unlawful entry
Reported Crime Date:1902
Convicted:1902
Exonerated:1904
Sentence:3 to 5 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:
Contributing Factors: