16 October, 2011

"I'm finally FREE," - Real life Shawshank Redemption as DEWEY BOZELLA wins 2011 ESPN Arthur Ashe Award for Courage:

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"Whatever the prosecution and police did, I'm gonna let go because I've got to move on with my life," - Dewey Bozella upon being released from prison after serving 26 years for a crime he did not commit

            Having been finally released from prison in October 2009;  Dewey Bozella had achieved what had become his life goal; to prove his innocence.  In 1983; the then 24 year old was given a 20 year to life sentence for the 1977 murder of a 92 year old pensioner in her appartment in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Upon being incarcerated in New York's infamous maximum security Sing, Sing Prison, Bozella set about proving his innocence.  He refused to admit to the crime he was convicted of committing, even when in front of the parole board, who denied him parole on four ocassions.
Newspaper describes 1990 freedom deal which Bozella refused
            In 1990 he was offered his freedom provided that he admitted his guilt.  However, he would not budge and continued to go about proving his innocence.  Bozella contacted the Innocence Project (IP) who examined his case.  When the IP discovered that there was no DNA evidence remaining to be tested they referred the case to WilmerHale - one of the leading law firms in the United States.
"A man's reputation is everything if he's fighting for a worthy cause.  My worthy cause was my freedom," - Dewey Bozella

               Whilst imprisoned he became Sing, Sing's lightheavyweight boxing champion.  He continued to pursue his quest from freedom and WilmerHale found knew evidence showing police corruption, cover-ups and prosecution malpractice.  This evidence was eventually brought before the courts and on October 30th 2009, Mr. Bozella was finally released from prison.  "After all the years, I've finally gotten my name cleared," - said Mr. Bozella in the immediate aftermath of his release.  Mr. Bozella clearly had no anger towards those who wrongly imprisoned him.   "I'm glad that it's over.  Whatever the prosecution did, whatever the police did, I'm gonna let it go.  If I worry about what they did I'm never gonna get where I need to go," - said Dewey on the courthouse steps.

"Never let fear determine who you are.  Never let where you come from determine where you are going," - Dewey Bozella upon receiving ESPN's 2011 Arthur Ashe Award for Courage

             On 13th July 2011; Dewey Bozella was honoured at ESPN's annual ESPY awards ceremony when he was awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.  Upon receiving the award; Dewey spoke of a quote he heard from legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato shortly after being incarcerated:  "The hero and the coward both feel fear.  The hero uses his fear and projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs.  This is a metaphor for all of us.  Never let fear determine who you are.  Never let where you come from determine where you are going."  Dewey spoke of how he memorised this quote whilst in prison and of how he wanted not merely to survive his Sing, Sing nightmare, but to thrive and eventually to teach children and save others.
15 October 2011: Dewey Bozella retires with a 100% pro record
               Throughout his years in prison, still Dewey had one dream left in his sport; to compete in one professional fight.  As an up and coming amateaur;  Dewey's pro dream was taken from him.  However, upon his release, he wanted one pro fight.  Just one. Former World Champion Bernard Hopkins gave Dewey a fight on the undercard of his own Title fight.  It was an easy fight for Dewey to prepare for and undertake, as he had won the hardest fight he would ever face.  Dewey Bozella proceeded to beat Larry Hopkins - a man 22 years his senior - this weekend and retired with a 1 and 0 professional record.
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