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What if you were convicted of a crime you did not commit?

Fred Weichel has spent the past 32 years in prison for a crime he says he did not commit. Weichel was found guilty of murdering 25 year old Robert LaMonica in 1980 outside of the man's Braintree apartment. Recently, after developing a relationship with a fellow inmate, Weichel is looking to have his conviction overturned. The relationship Weichel developed is with convicted mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, who says he knew the real killer.

Bulger, the 84-hear-old gangster, wrote a series of letters last fall that disclosed the truth about Robert LaMonica's killer. The letter's revealed that the real killer was an unnamed close friend of Weichel, not Weichel himself. Although Bulger would not disclose the name of the "friend," he did offer to give Weichel's lawyers a tape recorded statement under oath.

In the letters, Bulger described meeting at Triple O's bar in South Boston decades ago with a young boxer, who was Weichel's "pal." The boxer confided that he was scared because he had badly beaten a man in a street fight and now the victim's friend - LaMonica - was vowing revenge. LaMonica was only 25 years old at the time of his death. Bulgar continued to write that the "pal" wanted his advice. Bulgar told the pal to get him first, because if he didn't, he would be killed by this danger individual (LaMonica).

Shortly after this conversation, LaMonica was gunned down outside his Braintree apartment shortly after midnight on May 31, 1980. The following year Weichel was convicted based on the eyewitness testimony of a teenager who briefly saw a gunman jump into a waiting car and identified Weichel as the shooter.

Bulger wrote that he was not looking for anything in exchange for helping Weichel prove his innocence, and hoped that Weichel's friend would come forward, cut a deal, and confess. Bulger portrays himself in his letters as a man of honor who has been demonized by lying former associates and disparaged LaMonica.

Source: ABA Journal, Whitey Bulger supports convicted inmate, says he knows the real killer, Debra Cassens Weiss, 4/7/14

Boston Globe, Bulger backs a convict's attempt for freedom, Shelley Murphy, 4/7/14

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