By Phillip Martin March 17, 2021
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins notified the Superior Court Wednesday that she supports a motion for a new trial filed by lawyers for Sean Ellis challenging a firearms conviction linked to the 1993 murder of a police detective. If the motion is granted, Rollins said she intends to request the charges be dropped, wiping out the last case against Ellis, who spent more than 22 years behind bars for the murder before his conviction was overturned in 2015.
Following two hung juries in 1995, Ellis —19 at the time — was convicted at the conclusion of a third trial for killing Boston Detective John Mulligan, who, in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1993, was found slumped in his car with five bullets in the head. He had been working an overnight police detail outside a Walgreens in Roslindale. Ellis and a co-defendant were also sentenced to life on charges of robbery and for possession of two firearms, including the alleged murder weapon.
In 2015, Superior Court Judge Carole Ball determined that police and prosecutors had failed to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense that pointed to a pattern of corruption by the investigating officers.
Three years later, Suffolk County DA John Pappas decided not to retry Ellis for murder fearing that the prosecution could not win. But the firearms conviction was allowed to stand.
Several months ago, Ellis’ attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, filed an 80-page motion for a new trial to void the lingering firearms conviction, citing multiple discrepancies in the trial and extensive discovery violations.
Rollins concurred. In her statement to the court Wednesday agreeing to the motion for a new trial she cited these problems, as well as documented evidence of corruption by Kenneth Acerra and Walter Robinson, detectives leading the Mulligan investigation.