Patriots Defensive Back Wants Charlie Baker To Commute A Murderer’s Sentence

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By Matt Murphy
State House News Service


New England Patriots star Devin McCourty and several community groups next week will urge Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to commute the first-degree murder conviction of William Allen, a Brockton man who has spent 27 years in prison and hopes to become eligible for parole.

The Advisory Board of Pardons on Thursday recommended to Baker that Allen’s felony murder conviction be commuted to second-degree murder, which would make him eligible for release. If Baker were to accept the recommendation, it would be the first pardon or commutation issued by Baker since taking office in 2015 and only the second commutation to be issued by a Massachusetts governor since 1997.

McCourty plans to join clergy and community leaders outside the Massachusetts State House at a press conference Tuesday, September 21 organized by the Brockton Interfaith Community to discuss Allen’s case and present 800 letters of support.

Allen was convicted in 1997 of first-degree murder in the death of Pervis Bester, who was stabbed during a robbery at his home. Allen’s co-defendant in the case, Rolando Perry, was the one who stabbed Bester and has since been paroled after accepting a plea deal for second-degree murder. Allen told the Board of Pardons that he too was offered a plea deal, but turned it down, a decision he now regrets.

The decision by members of the Advisory Board of Pardons to recommend the commutation was based on Allen’s acceptance and remorse for the role he played in Bester’s murder, and the work he has done while in prison to rehabilitate himself. The recommendation is supported by Bester’s daughter, Leah Cole, and Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.

“Based on the hearing and the record, it is clear Mr. Allen has made exceptional strides towards self-improvement and self-development,” the board wrote, describing him as a “model inmate” who in 2011 stopped an inmate from harming a female correctional officer. Allen has earned his barber’s apprentice license while in prison, and has been deemed a “low risk of violence and recidivism.”

“He has exhibited a good example to the incarcerated population to commit to self-development and self-improvement,” the pardon board concluded.

While Baker has not issued any pardons or commutations during his nearly seven years in office, former Governor Deval Patrick in 2014 at the end of his second term commuted the drug sentence of Deanne Hamilton and pardoned two other men — Guy James Coraccio and Jeffrey Snyder — for larceny and drug crimes, respectively. 


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