In July 1971, David Myers was murdered in the Dorchester, Massachusetts apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Gloria Curtis, and her sister, Brenda Haley. Both Gloria and Brenda told police that they had seen Brenda’s estranged husband, James Haley, in the neighborhood before the killing, and Gloria said she saw Haley kill Myers.
Both women testified against Haley at trial. No physical evidence linked Haley to the murder, and Haley’s sister testified that he was with her at the time of the crime. Nonetheless, in March 1972, a jury convicted Haley of first-degree murder and he was sentenced to life without parole.
In 2006, Haley filed an open records request with the police and the district attorney’s office. When he received the records, Haley discovered that the prosecution had failed to disclose records showing that both Gloria and Brenda initially told police that they had not seen Haley in over a month.
In 2007, Haley filed a motion for a new trial. The state joined in the motion. In December 2007 a Superior Court judge vacated Haley’s conviction, and he was released on bail in January 2008.
In June 2008, the prosecution notified Haley that all of the documents in his case had been lost, and the Superior Court dismissed the charges against him in August 2008. Haley filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that was dismissed in 2009. In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed the dismissal and in 2013, the city of Boston agreed to settle the lawsuit for $3 million. The money was paid to the estate of Haley, who died in 2011.
- Stephanie Denzel