Wrongfully imprisoned boxer to speak at BC

After spending nearly three decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Dewey Bozella is not focusing on the past, but rather looking toward the future. The recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2011 ESPYs will speak on triumphing over adversity on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

The program, sponsored by the W. Harold Row Endowed Lecture Series, is part of the college’s Constitution Day activities. It is free and open to the public.

Foster care and life on the streets defined Bozella’s youth until he found his calling as a boxer and trained at Floyd Patterson’s camp. Moving from Brooklyn to upstate New York, the talented young fighter was determined to be a good man.

In 1983, his life changed in the blink of an eye when he was convicted of killing a 92-year-old woman and sentenced to 20 years to life in Sing Sing prison. Bozella, who was bicycling alone miles away at the time the murder took place maintained his innocence and exhausted every appeal.

Four times parole hearings came up. Each time Bonzella could have been released on parole by admitting his guilt – something he would not do.

The law firm WilmerHale took Bozella’s case and uncovered new evidence that exonerated him. After being in prison for more than 26 years, he was released in October 2009.

While in prison, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College and a master’s from New York Theological Seminary. He also met his wife, Trena, who was visiting another inmate. And, he boxed in the prison’s boxing ring becoming the light heavyweight champ of Sing Sing.

Upon being released from prison, Bozella told reporters “Whatever prosecutors and police did, I’m going to let it go because I’m going to move on with my life. If I worry about what they did, I’m not going to get where I need to go.”

So where is he going today? Bozella devotes his life to helping others, working with a nonprofit that helps recently released prisoners rehabilitate back into society. He has also returned to boxing as a trainer to kids and aspiring fighters.

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