Advisory board recommends switching to Baker

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BROCKTON – A rare decision awaits Governor Charlie Baker, who has the power to end the prison sentence of a Brockton man who has been incarcerated for the past 27 years.

William Allen, a Brockton man serving a life sentence for first degree murder in connection with the murder and robbery of Purvis Bester on February 5, 1994, recently received a favorable recommendation from the Pardons Advisory Board for his request of commutation.

Allen was granted a commutation hearing in March after several requests for a hearing, by his legal counsel to Kristine McDonald and Allan Tufankjian of Tufankjian, McDonald, Doton and Sacchitella, a law firm in Brockton.

He has been serving his sentence since September 9, 1994 and is not eligible for parole due to his conviction for first degree murder.

Only one Massachusetts prisoner had a commuted sentence over the past 25 years, which was under the leadership of Deval Patrick. Baker has not used his executive powers to commute a sentence or pardon a prisoner during his five years in office.

Following: 27 years in the making: Brockton man gets rare switching hearing

Allen is the second person this year to be favorably recommended for switching to governor this year, the first being Thomas Kooncé, also of Brockton, who served nearly 30 years in prison, after being convicted in 1992 of the 1987 murder of Mark Santos of New Bedford.

Allen’s switching hearing before the Pardons Advisory Board was held on June 15, 2021, and the six-member board issued a unanimous recommendation in favor of the commutation.

“From the hearing and the record it is clear that Mr. Allen has made exceptional progress

towards self-improvement and self-development, ”read the part of the report submitted to Baker regarding the favorable recommendation of the Pardons Advisory Board.

As part of the report submitted to Baker on September 16 regarding Allen’s switching, more than 50 people submitted written or video testimony in support of Allen’s switching.

This includes members of the Brockton interfaith community, community organizations and prison staff who worked with Allen during his incarceration and the family of Purvis Bester, the man who was killed in the incident Allen was involved in. 27 years ago.

In addition, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz also supported the commutation of the sentence for first degree murder.

On October 5, Second Chance Justice – a campaign within the Brockton interfaith community – and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots held a rally outside the Statehouse in Boston, to urge Baker to commute the life sentence to Allen.

McCourty, along with New England Patriots staff and other players, have approved Allen’s switching, according to Karen Greisdorf, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, an advocacy organization with which the Brockton Interfaith Community is affiliated. .

Second Chance Justice has delivered more than 800 letters from across the state to the governor’s office in support of the commutation of Allen’s life sentence.

“There are many words that can be used to describe who William Allen is, but cuteness is what he is,” Peg Newman, who served as Allen’s prison chaplain for eight years, said at the Oct. 5 rally. .

If Baker approves Allen’s commutation request, it will then go to the Governor’s Council, an advisory committee responsible for decisions the governor makes regarding commutations, pardons, appointments, and treasury terms.

“I hope we will be back here to celebrate,” said Faith Tobon, member of Second Chance Justice, who also spoke at the rally.

They will have the power to decide if Allen gets the switch

In Thomas Koonce’s case, he was favorably recommended for the switchover in January of this year and Baker has yet to make a decision.

Enterprise staff writer Darvence Chery can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.


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