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John W. Fields


On the night of April 22, 1892, two stores in Haverhill, Massachusetts, were burglarized. Several pieces of clothing and other small items were stolen from the stores. The following day, police arrested a group of four young men and recovered some of the stolen property from them. One of the four men, John W. Fields, stated that he had not been involved in the burglaries and that the stolen items had been given to him by the other three – James Howard, John Carney, and John E. Martin.


Few details of Fields’s trial are known. The evidence against him appears to have been his association with the three others and his possession of some of the stolen items. Fields was convicted of breaking and entering and larceny on May 2, 1892, and he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.


Following the trial, the prosecutor, District Attorney W.H. Moody reinvestigated the case and became convinced that Fields had an alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the burglaries. Although the details of Moody’s reinvestigation cannot be found, he concluded that Fields was not guilty of the crimes.


Moody wrote a letter to Massachusetts Governor William Russell recommending that Fields be pardoned because he was innocent. Governor Russell signed the pardon on December 23, 1892, and Fields was freed after spending over seven months in prison.

 
- Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:MA
County:Essex
Most Serious Crime:Burglary/Unlawful entry
Reported Crime Date:1892
Convicted:1892
Exonerated:1892
Sentence:2.5 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:19
Contributing Factors: