Boston man freed after first-degree murder conviction is overturned

BOSTON — For the first time in almost 3 decades, James Lucien is a free man.

The 48-year-old was serving a life-no-parole sentence for the 1995 murder of Ryan Edwards.

But at Suffolk Superior Court, Lucien’s attorney argued he never got a fair trial, the DA’s office agreed, and James Lucien has his freedom back.

As Lucien embraced his family at Suffolk County Superior Court on Tuesday, he said he felt “Great! God is good, that all I can say,” Lucien told me.

In court and in legal motions, Lucien’s attorney successfully argued that the lead investigator on the case, Boston Police Detective John Brazil, and others made fundamental mistakes that compromised the homicide investigation and wrongly convicted Lucien.

“Our motion for new trial is not just about Mr. Brazil’s conduct in other cases or criminal justice reform, it’s about misconduct in this actual case and how that would have been a real factor in the jury deliberations if they knew that,” Lucien’s attorney, Dennis Toomey, told the court.

In the end, the judge granted Lucien a new trial, and the Suffolk County DA’s office dropped the charges.

The judge had this message for the victim’s family.

“Don’t blame Mr. Lucien or his attorney. Don’t blame the Commonwealth for assenting to this motion. The person to blame is the lead detective in this case, Detective Brazil. If he had been honest and had done his job correctly, we would not be here,” Judge Robert Ulmman said.

Murder victim Ryan Edward’s family is angry.

“I think it’s horrible. Now he’s free and there’s nobody to help our family. And my brother’s murder goes as another unsolved murder in Boston,” said Dionne Robert, Ryan Edward’s sister.