Who is Sean K. Ellis?

Sean K. Ellis (2020) credit: Family & Friends of Sean Ellis

Sean K. Ellis was born July 11, 1974, in Boston, MA to Mary Ellis and the late John Ellis. Sean and his family lived in Roslindale, MA, and later relocated to Boston’s Dorchester area of Massachusetts. Sean was a student at Needham Public School System, a high-performing, predominantly white school in the suburbs. He was afforded this opportunity through a voluntary school integration program ran by Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity. Sean would later transfer to Dorchester High School where he obtained his high school diploma in 1991. After graduating high school, Sean planned to attend an auto mechanics program, but his late cousin Tracy Brown was encouraging him to think bigger and attend college.

On October 5, 1993, nineteen-year-old Sean was charged as a co-venturer in the robbery and murder of a Boston Police Detective. In September 1995 after the third jury trial, he was wrongfully convicted of these charges and spent over twenty years in prison. During his time in prison, Sean dedicated his time to earn a certification as a paralegal while proclaiming his innocence. On May 5, 2015, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball overturned his convictions ruling “justice was not done“.

On June 3, 2015, Sean was released from prison on a $50,000 bail as he awaited Trial 4. Suffolk County prosecutor offered him a guilty plea for time served to avoid a fourth trial. Sean declined! As the wait continued, Sean frequently spoke at local forums and national conferences in San Diego, CA, Memphis, TN, and Atlanta, GA to share his story and inspire others.  After three years, Suffolk County prosecutors scheduled his fourth trial for October 2018 and then re-scheduled it to September 9, 2019. On December 17, 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts dropped the robbery and murder charges against him. 

Now in his mid-40’s, Sean is reclaiming his life and is a staunch advocate of criminal justice and prison reform. He has since co-founded the Exoneree Network and is involved with the NAACP, Violence in Boston, The Ministry of Justice, Massachusetts Community Action Network, and Essex County Community Organizing. Sean also serves as a trustee on the board of the New England Innocence Project. Sean’s recently released NETFLIX Docu-Series, Trial 4 has elevated his voice internationally as he continues to speak about his experiences with racism and injustice within the criminal justice system. A system that kept him behind bars for nearly 22 years for a crime he DID NOT COMMIT!