Criminal Justice Activist and Boston Native
Sean K. Ellis spent nearly 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. At age 19, Ellis was convicted of the 1993 robbery and murder of a Boston Police detective, based on scant evidence and a witness statement that was later discovered to have been coerced by police officers. His first two trials ended in hung juries; he was convicted at a third trial. Sentenced to life in prison, Sean always proclaimed his innocence. In 2015, a judge ruled “justice was not done,” overturned his convictions, and freed him on bail. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts opted to try him again. Finally, in December 2018, the Suffolk County District Attorney dropped all charges but stopped short of fully exonerating him. In November 2020, Netflix released “Trial 4,” an original, eight-part documentary series about the Sean Ellis case produced by Gaumont and What’s Up Film. Ellis now works full-time as a development associate at the Boston non-profit Community Servings and is a Community Fellow in Tufts University’s Institute for Nonprofit Practice. He speaks frequently about his experiences, including at events sponsored by the New England Innocence Project, for which he is a trustee.