rubin hurricane carter 2014

Controversial ex-boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter died after a battle with prostate cancer at the age of 76 on April 20. Carter is best known for being convicted twice of a triple murder and then being released from prison after prosecutors refused to try him a third time. Carter reportedly died in his sleep in his adopted home of Toronto, Canada.

Carter was sent to prison with John Artis after three white patrons were murdered in cold blood by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey in June 1966. Carter spent 19 years in prison for the crime after being convicted in 1967 and being convicted again at a second trial in 1976.

After years of appeals Carter was released from his cell in November of 1985 when the convictions were set aside. Artis spent 14 years in prison before being paroled in 1981. He was then found guilty of drugs and weapons charges and sentenced to six more years in 1987.

Carter maintained he was innocent of the crime and claimed he was framed by racist police officers. He wrote a book about his life called ‘The Sixteenth Round’ and was immortalized in 1975 when Bob Dylan released a song called "Hurricane." Several other books were also written about Carter and the murders with several of them hinting that he was indeed a guilty party.

Carter was born in New Jersey in 1937 and spent time at a juvenile center at the age of 12 after committing an assault. He turned to boxing after joining the army in 1954 and then spent four years in different state prisons for assaults and muggings after leaving the Forces. He turned professional in 1961 and became a legitimate middleweight contender after winning 20 of his first 24 contests.

When convicted the first time his final boxing record stood at 27-12-1 with 19 Kos. The high point of his career came in 1963 when he knocked out Emile Griffith, a two-division world champion, in the very first round. He earned a title shot against Joey Giardello in December of 1964 and lost a unanimous decision to the champion

Denzel Washington starred in a 1999 Hollywood movie about Carter’s life and received an Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the criminal-turned-boxer. However, many inaccuracies were found in the movie and its producers were sued by Giardello. In the lawsuit, Giardello objected to the way the movie suggested his title-bout win over Carter was fixed due to racism.

In 2011, Carter stated in a PBS interview when referring to his prison sentences, “I wouldn't give up. No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn't give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”

Carter was eventually set free after a network of volunteers and friends pushed for his release. When releasing him, U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin stated, the boxer’s conviction was "predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”

After Sarokin released Carter the former boxer moved to Toronto and became the executive director for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted between 1993 and 2005. While Carter vehemently denied taking part in the murders they remain an unsolved mystery since nobody else was charged for them and nobody ever confessed to them.


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