Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Trenkler case

Below is an email received from Morrison Bonpasse [morrison@alfredtrenklerinnocent.org]

I hope that you are interested in a unique case of two wrongful convictions in Boston Federal Court in 1993. Since the confirmation of the new U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, I've been seeking to meet with Ms. Ortiz and/or delegates to discuss these wrongful convictions and also seeking a re-investigation of the case.

Very briefly, in 1991, a bomb exploded in Roslindale (Boston) and tragically killed a Boston Bomb Squad officer, Jeremiah Hurley and maimed his squad partner, Francis Foley. Alfred Trenkler knew the son of the apparently-intended victim of the bomb, and that coincidence, and another (that he had detonated a large firecracker with a remote control device in 1986), led to the conviction of Alfred and the son. Alfred had absolutely nothing to do with the bomb. No knowledge, no plan, no action. Nothing.

Contacted about this case in 2006 by Alfred Trenkler's brother, I created a website, www.alfredtrenklerinnocent.org and wrote a 727 page manuscript for a book about the case, Perfectly Innocent. We photocopied 100 copies and I've sent them to the U.S. Attorney for Boston and to BATFE and the Boston Police Dept and many others. So far, no one has challenged the facts presented in the manuscript. It uses about 10MB, so I'll send it to you in a separate email. Attached are two short summaries of the case and the reasons for Alfred's innocence. The Home Page of the website has a list of several "key" documents which provide additional information.

Here are some highlights which may interest you.

- Five jurors at Alfred Trenkler's 1993 trial have written to the trial judge, Rya Zobel, over the past year to disavow their verdict and ask for a new trial. Four of those jurors read my manuscript first, and saw the website. The fifth juror contacted me after seeing the 23 February 2009 article in the Boston Globe (attached), and he said he didn't need to read the book, because he was the "holdout" juror in 1993. Please know that those four jurors were the FIRST four jurors I was able to identify and successfuly contract. It's not four out of 12, but four out of four, and the first of the four was the jury foreperson, who is now a vice-president for Quality at Partners Health Care.

- Several Boston Police Dept. officers have read the manuscript and are concerned that the wrong people were convicted in a case involving the death of one of their own - a Boston Policeman. According to the front page article, and column by Peter Gelzinis, in the 22 November 2009 Boston Herald, the Boston took their concerns to the Office of the U.S. Attorney in September. The article and the column are attached to this email.

- In the 22 November article, Jeremiah Hurley's widow was quoted, as saying, "I do not want anybody in prison who doesn't belong there," Hurley said in an interview at her Hyde Park home this week. "If there is evidence let's find it. Let's hear it."
This represented a change of position for her, and a major reason for that change was that two BPD officers visited her 9 months ago to tell her and her family that the BPD was reviewing the case.

- The case is currently before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, as Alfred Trenkler has appealed Judge Zobel's denial of his request for a new trial. The Government was initially required to respond by 16 October, but it requested a six week delay to December 1, and then recently was granted an additional 40 days, until 11 January, to respond.

- I've written to the current and previous U.S. Attorneys several times to ask that a preliminary re-investigation be conducted in the case. A copy of the proposal for that re-investigation is attached. Also attached is my 25 November 2009 email to Ms. Ortiz which raised 29 other matters to investigate. I've called and written several times to ask to meet with the U.S. Attorney and/or delegates, but there has been no response. Attached is an email I sent on 6 December to U.S. Attorney Ortiz and her superiors at the Dept. of Justice with a summay of the approximately 50 communications I've sent to the Dept. of Justice about this matter. There has not been a single substantive response.

- Since February 2008, Alfred was incarcerated at the Devens Federal Medical Center prison, as he wears a pacemaker, which was installed in his chest several years ago. However, on 13 November, he was abruptly transferred to Brooklyn, NY and told that he is on his way to Tucson, Arizona, which is 2,600 miles away. The transfer has the appearance of retaliation for his claims of innocence.

- This is a Federal criminal case, which makes it unusual for claims of wrongful conviction. Since 1989, there have been 245 people exonerated through DNA testing by the Innocence Project, but they were all convicted in state courts - primarily because that's where the homicide and rape cases are usually handled and those are the cases where DNA samples appear most often. Attached is a list of 38 wrongful convictions in Massachusetts since 1976, and they were all in State or municipal Courts.

- The New England Innocence Project (NEIP) rejected this case in 2007 because there was no obvious DNA. We later learned that the Government destroyed the physical evidence in 2005/06, but the case is very much alive. Last month, I reapplied for Alfred because the NEIP is one of the regional Innocent Project groups which is now accepting non-DNA cases.

- A human interest aspect of this story is that Alfred Trenkler is the son of "Ice Capades" start clown, "Freddie" Trenkler. Alfred's late mother was Josephine Johnson Barnum (as in P.T.) Trenkler Wallace, and she was a skater with the "Ice Capades" when she met and married Alfred's father.

1 comment:

morrisonbonpasse said...

Thanks very much for posting this information about the wrongful convictions of Alfred Trenkler and Thomas A. Shay in the Roslindale Bomb cases in Boston in 1993. I look forward to any questions which readers might wish to ask.


Morrison Bonpasse