Court considering if convicted officer killer should get new trial

BOSTON — The fate of a Dorchester man who served 22 years in prison for killing an officer is now in the hands of the Commonwealth's highest court.

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Thursday morning on whether or not Sean Ellis should get a new trial. Last year, a Superior Court judge vacated the original murder conviction after she ruled evidence was withheld from Ellis' defense attorneys.

Ellis was convicted in 1995 for the murder of Boston Detective John Mulligan. Ellis, 41, has been out of prison for almost a year while waiting for the new trial. He doesn’t hide how good that feels.

"Hopefully my smile says it,” he said.

Despite the smile, he said it has been stressful not knowing what his future will be. Ellis was only 19 when he was charged with the murder of Boston Detective John Mulligan in 1993.

Ellis's new attorney Rosemary Scarpiccio said that suppressed evidence centers on corrupt detectives and potential suspect information that could have changed the outcome of his trial.

"There's a number of things that had the trial attorneys originally had them in the first trial, there's no doubt in my mind that Sean would have spent 22 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit,” said Scarpiccio.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Linn argued against a new trial. He said there are more crucial pieces of evidence, like the recovered murder weapon, that tie Ellis and his co-defendant Terry Patterson to the murder.

"It comes back to Ellis and Patterson. The corruption of the police? Ellis and Patterson. Everything the defendant raises, it comes back Ellis and Patterson,” said Linn.

Ellis' attorney said the justices have 120 days to make their ruling, but she expects a decision to come before July.

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