In August 1995, five boys were standing outside a friend’s house in Boston, Massachusetts when two people approached them on a motorcycle. The passenger on the motorcycle, who was wearing a helmet, pulled a gun and shot the boys, killing one. A sixth boy, who was nearby, identified the shooter as “Kevin,” a man from Cambridge. Three of the survivors also identified the shooter as “Kevin,” and all four identified Marlon Passley in a photo array and again at trial. When arrested, Passley admitted that he had been known as “Kevin” and lived in Cambridge, but stated that he was at a family member’s graduation at the time of the shooting. When police searched Passley’s home, they found a green mesh shirt matching the description witnesses had given of the shooter. Despite several witnesses who confirmed his alibi, Passley was convicted of first-degree murder and felony assault by a jury in October 1996, and sentenced to life in prison
On February 9, 1999, Passley’s sentence was confirmed. A month later, the Suffolk Assistant District Attorney learned that an inmate had identified another man, John Tibbs, as the shooter. A court order was obtained that temporarily stayed Passley’s sentence. After a plea deal was reached, Tibbs confessed to the murder and Passley was released from prison on April 16, 1999. In 2000, the Superior Court vacated all of Passley’s charges.
- Stephanie Denzel