The New York Daily News published a dying plea from Rubin Carter for new Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson to grant a hearing for David McCallum. Here is the original draft.
February 7, 2014
My name is Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and you may remember me from my other life as a middleweight boxer. But fate had other plans for me; I was wrongly convicted of a triple murder in Paterson, New Jersey and spent nineteen years in prison trying, along with generous friends and good people from every walk of life, to right this wrong and gain my freedom. I am now quite literally on my deathbed and am making my final wish which those in authority have the power to grant.
My single regret in life is that David McCallum of Brooklyn, New York, a man incarcerated in 1985, the same year I was released, and a man represented by Innocence International since 2004, is still in prison on a wrongful conviction after twenty-eight years. I only request that McCallum be granted a full hearing by the Conviction Integrity Unit, now under the auspices of the new Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson. Knowing what I do, I have a certainty, that when the facts are brought to light, Mr. Thompson will recommend the immediate release of my client.
A man like David McCallum who has been wrongly convicted and spent twenty-eight years (from the age of sixteen) behind bars needs an unprejudiced higher authority, a person with nothing to lose or gain by righting an injustice, to examine the evidence that people have refused to act on all these years. Is it willful blindness or self-interest that was to blame? Willie Stuckey, McCallum’s co-convicted, has already died in prison. Do we need David to die as well to avoid an inconvenient truth?
The details of this case would be the subject of the hearing, but I can say unequivocally that McCallum and Stuckey are as innocent of the kidnapping and murder of twenty-year old Nathan Blenner in October of 1985 as anyone now reading this plea. Not a single piece of evidence ever implicated them in this crime nor placed them anywhere near the scene. Their two confessions, gained by force and trickery, are not corroborated even by each other; they read as if two different crimes were committed. The police, prosecutor, and judge jumped on those confessions like dogs on a bone, and the previous DA’s office had been chewing on it ever since. New affidavits strongly indicate that potentially exculpatory police reports were lost, discarded or suppressed. DNA testing and fingerprint evidence all point in other directions. The Brooklyn DA’s office has, as I said, a Conviction Integrity Unit and this conviction has no integrity.
Wonderful things have been given to me in my life, my freedom from a place of living hell granted by the brave Judge H. Lee Sarokin, awards I’ve received from every corner of the globe, and dedicated people who worked for no payment beyond the thanks I was able to give. David McCallum was incarcerated two weeks before my release. I was then reborn into the miracle of this wonderful world from which death is now waiting to claim me. I’m looking him straight in the eye; he’s got me on the ropes, but I won’t back down. Now I ask Ken Thompson to look straight in the eye of truth, a tougher customer than death, and not back down either. Just as my own verdict “was predicated on racism rather than reason and on concealment rather than disclosure”, so too was Mr. McCallum’s. My aim in helping this fine man is to “pay it forward”, to give the help that I received as a wrongly convicted man to him who needs it now.
If I find a heaven after this life, I’ll be quite surprised. In my own lifetime, when I awakened to this world of infinite possibility, now that’s heaven. I lived in hell for the first forty-nine years of my life and been in heaven for the past twenty-eight. To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all.
Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter