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Marlon Passley

Other Boston Exonerations
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

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Assault
Reported Crime Date:1995
Age at the date of crime:23
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No