Guide PERFECTLY INNOCENT - The Wrongful Conviction of Alfred Trenkler

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One possibility was that the defendants in a civil suit filed by Thomas L. Shay may have sought to either intimidate Shay or kill him. Another was that Shay may have had the bomb built by someone he knew, perhaps his brother, Arthur, and then had it planted underneath his car to make it appear that someone else was trying to intimidate or kill him. A third theory was that someone was sending a message to Mr. Shay about the need to pay his gambling debts. A fourth theory was that Thomas L. Alfred Trenkler had never met Mr.

Thomas L. Shay, but he did meet his son, Thomas A. Shay, in June when Shay was asking passersby for a ride home to Roslindale from a hour convenience store in Back Bay, Boston. Alfred gave him a ride, and subsequently met him, by chance, on five other occasions, and gave him rides four of those five times during June and July. The last contact was a final chance meeting in August None of those contacts was planned beforehand by Alfred Trenkler.

Alfred did not plan that contact either. Thomas A. When Tom Shay was arrested on other charges, after the 28 October bomb explosion, called the Roslindale Bomb here, the police began contacting everyone in that address book. Whether assuming it from the appearance in the address book, or whether from other sources, the investigators soon guessed that Alfred Trenkler was also gay, and that it was somehow relevant and important; but they never asked him. Not once. If they had, he would have said that his sexual preference was a private matter and was none of their business.

Immediately after the explosion, the Quincy, Massachusetts Police Dept. It was a long shot, but When the Boston Police came upon a receipt from a purchase by a Mr. Shay and Alfred Trenkler were the sources of the bomb. However, the meager evidence developed by the Boston Police was not enough for a successful prosecution, or, in the view of one Boston detective for even getting an indictment.

The U. Also, the Boston-based U. Attorney for Massachusetts assumed a significant role in the case, including pre-trial investigative interviews. Together, they focused on Alfred Trenkler and Thomas A. Shay and paid scant attention to other theories about the case. The two men were indicted on 16 December , and in early , the U. He was found guilty on two of the three counts, and sentenced to 15 years 8 months in Federal prison. He was sentenced on 9 March to two concurrent life terms in prison, and he has so far, through 26 August , served 13 years, 9 months of that sentence.

When his days of pretrial incarceration is added, the total is a 14 years and 5 months.

Wrongly convicted of murder: 2 men freed after 42 years in prison

Alfred Trenkler has always maintained his innocence to all who would listen. On 4 April Alfred Trenkler was returned to Boston to be resentenced, after he had successfully shown the court that his original sentence did not comply with the jury-recommention requirements of the law at that time. He was resentenced to 37 years, which was his approximate life expectancy when originally sentenced in With time off for good behavior, he can expect to be released in at the age of 69, unless he is exonerated beforehand.

The conviction of Thomas A. His conviction was vacated, and a retrial was anticipated. Thus, a plea-bargain agreement was struck.

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By that agreement Shay was resentenced on 29 October to 12 years in prison, including the six years already served, and including the pre-trial confinement in He was released on 30 August and into five years of supervised release. In , he was returned to prison for six months for violating his supervised release, and on 24 July he was sentenced to an additional 33 months in prison for again violating the terms of his supervised release. Justice Stephen Breyer, concurring opinion in General Electric v.

Joiner, S. Coincidenally, in the Summer of the author met the mother of Tom Hunt, the author of Cliffs of Despair , which is the story of suicides from the English Channel cliffs in Eastbourne. The site is among the most popular suicide locations in the world. On 28 October shortly after noon, in a residential driveway in the Roslindale section of Boston, Massachusetts, Francis X.

Foley said to his Boston Police Dept. Bomb Disposal Unit partner, Jeremiah J.

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The explosion left Officer Foley with a mangled face. Incredibly, both men survived the initial blast, but they both thought they were dying, and told the other officers nearby to tell their families and their wives that they loved them. They also selflessly told the others to be careful because there may still be in the vicinity unexploded and dangerous remnants of the bomb.

He died at that evening. He was unable to return to work, and retired on disability. At that explosive instant the lives of six men intersected forever: Francis X. Foley, Jeremiah Hurley, Jr. Shay, Thomas L.


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Officers Foley and Hurley had been called at about a. Nineteen ninety-one was the 5th year the two policemen had been together in the Boston Bomb Disposal Unit, nicknamed the Bomb Squad. The year began with the world knowing that the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, a result of a series of mistaken calculations, would be corrected in some way. On 12 January , the U. Congress authorized military action by the United States and its U. By 27 February it was over. Correcting the mistakes of the Roslindale Bomb investigation and prosecution would take much longer.

He had been convicted in of rape and murder, with the primary evidence in the case being the confession of a co-defendant in a botched robbery. Nelson was also claimed by the prosecution to have confessed when he confronted the already confessed partner, " What did you tell them? During those last 80 days of the Soviet Union, an acquaintance between two of the six men, Tom Shay and Alfred Trenkler, started, stalled and stopped in Boston.

The first of the six men, alphabetically, was Francis X.

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Foley, who was 49 years old on 28 October and the divorced father of three daughters and a son. He joined the Boston Police Department in after four years in the U. Air Force. In , he went to the FBI explosives school in Huntsville, Alabama and was certified as an explosives technician. Foley and his partner had a system to alternate the responsibility of directly handling the device by agreeing that the driver of their Ford Bronco for the day would be the officer to handle the suspected device on that day. If there was more than one suspected device during one day, the other officer would handle the next device.

This practice ensured fair sharing of the deadly responsibility and risks. Every week, two of his four work days were with Jeremiah Hurley.


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Officer Jeremiah Hurley, Badge number , was a handsome, hazel-eyed, pound, 6 foot 3 inch, 50 year-old man. He had joined the Boston Police Dept. Hurley joined the Bomb Squad in Jeremiah Hurley was known for his wit according to a long-time friend, Angelo Scaccia, who said in a newspaper article, " He was a raconteur , and he had the ability to make one laugh so hard tears rolled down your face.

Mayor Raymond Flynn met with members of the Hurley family on the night of the explosion and later said to the media, The City of Boston has lost one of its finest sons tonight. Arthur Driscoll, the former pastor of St. Jeremiah Hurley left his wife, Cynthia, and two stepsons and two daughters. Three thousand policemen from police departments attended the ceremony. Flags on all Boston Police Dept. We can surmise that he was male, as there have been few women bomb builders.

After that, we can surmise little. Probably he was from Boston. Maybe he knew Mr. Shay, maybe not. He had some knowledge of how to handle explosives, as he removed the brown and identifiable paper covering before placing the equivalent of sticks of dynamite into the carefully crafted wooden box. Showing that he was a better woodworker than electrician, he carefully drew ballpoint penned straight edging lines for his power saw cuts. This craftsmanship made more sense than his wiring the six 9-volt batteries in a series.