The Dewey Bozella Story
If you’ve never heard the inspirational story of Dewey Bozella until now, this is your lucky day.
Bozella’s story will motivate you to make a new path for your life when you are down.
He will help you focus on something more productive than self-pity.
Bozella did not grow up in a happy childhood.
As a nine-year-old boy in Brooklyn, New York, he watched his father beat his mother to death.
Several years later, one brother died in a fight and another from AIDs.
At the age of seventeen, Bozella attempted to find a better life by moving far away from Brooklyn to Poughkeepsie.
Only a few months after he arrived in Duchess county, witnesses swore that Dewey murdered a woman age 92.
At the time, he was a promising young boxer and his dream was a career in professional boxing.
In 1983, Bozella was convicted for the murder of 92-year-old Emma Crapser of Poughkeepsie, New York.
As a result, he was sentenced to 20 years to life and spent over a quarter century, an unimaginable 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The Innocence Project
In 1990 during a second trial, the prosecution offered and Dewey rejected several plea bargains.
In return for an admission of guilt, he could go free if he confessed to the crime.
Dewey said that he would rather die and decided to stay in prison until he was proven to be an innocent man.
For years he requested the aid of the Innocence Project, an organization that uses DNA to identify cases where to exonerate the innocent.
But, because most witnesses were dead, and there was no DNA to research, the Innocence Project handed the case over to another group of lawyers who took Dewey Bozella’s case, Pro Bono.
Released from prison
The new lawyers, from the International Law Firm WilmerHale, had little to go on.
There was no physical evidence, and the primary witnesses were deceased.
However, they didn’t give up and decided to speak with the lead detective on the case, Detective Sergeant Arthur Regala.
To their surprise, he had kept a copy of the case file for more than 30 years.
And it was the only copy of a case that he ever held on to.
In Detective Sgt. Regala’s copy, these lawyers uncovered shocking exculpatory evidence that the witnesses, known local criminals, had lied under oath.
Also, there was another suspect who confessed to committing the murder.
For 30 years, Dewey did not realize that he was framed, and the prosecution covered up the information that would have cleared his name.
On October 28, 2009, in Dutchess County, New York, Dewey Bozella was exonerated in that very same courtroom that convicted him in 1983.
- Hardcover Book
- Bozella, Dewey (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
2011 Espy Awards
In 2011, Dewey Bozella received the Arthur Ashe courage award at the ESPYs (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award)
Here is Dewey accepting the 2011 Arthur Ashe courage ESPY awards as a free man. It is worth watching!:
Top 10 Dewey Bozella Quotes
The stalwart persistence of a man unjustly accused and imprisoned, yet full of undying faith that he will be exonerated is a lesson for anyone struggling with overcoming obstacles.
Before you ever give in to the temptation of giving up,
Never Give Up on Your Dreams
#1. Keep Moving Forward
“I gotta move on with my life. If I worry about what they did to me, I’m not going to get where I need to go.”
#2. Maintain Your Good Name
“A man’s reputation is everything.”
#3. Think Freedom
“My worthy cause is my freedom.”
#4. Live with Hope and Optimism
“Never let fear determine who you are.”
#5. Don’t Look Back at the Past
“And never let where you come from determine where you are going.”
#6. Start Training Your Body in the Sport of Your Choice
“Boxing awakened me. I felt free during my workouts.”
#7. Get Back Up
“The only thing to do after a knockdown is to get back up and keep fighting.”
#8. Harness the Power of Discipline
“Boxing is my life, boxing saved me, gave me discipline, and freedom.”
#9. Practice Happiness – Now
“Even in prison, my attitude was I made up my mind to be happy.”
#10. Never Ever Give Up
“You must always have a never-give-up attitude. Don’t let anyone else, including you, see that you have given up. Never give up on your dreams.”
Live Your Dreams
One dream of Dewey’s was just one professional fight.
And so it was that On October 15, 2011, Bozella won his first and only professional boxing match by unanimous decision against Larry Hopkins at the age of 52 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Here is the full fight between Dewey Bozella and Larry Hopkins:
In 2012, ESPN Films released a 2-hour documentary, Dewey Bozella
The movie follows Dewey Bozella’s dream and training to fight one professional fight as a free man.
Dewey Bozella today
In 2015, the State of New York paid a 7.5 million dollar wrongful conviction settlement to Dewey Bozella.
Today, Bozella runs the Dewey Bozella Foundation, a youth development organization that uses boxing to teach discipline and motivation to at-risk young people.
He lives with his wife, Trena, in New York City.
In 2016, Bozella published Stand Tall: Fighting For My Life, Inside and Outside the Ring, a powerful memoir of his life story.
The Dewey Bozella Story – Wrapping Up
The amazing story of Dewey Bozella is also the story of how a sport, like boxing, can save your life when you are down.
How did he survive being wrongfully imprisoned?
Injustice fuels an incredible sense of betrayal.
Nevertheless, in New York’s Sing Sing prison, Bozella was a model prisoner.
While incarcerated, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College and a Master’s degree from New York Theological Seminary.
More importantly, he threw himself into the sport of boxing, till he became the light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing.
Boxing saved Dewey Bozella’s life and serves as a remarkable reminder that when the chips are down, never give up on yourself.
If you are struggling because of obesity or depression, you need to push yourself to take up at least one physical activity.
By doing this, you can begin to move past your depression, which paralyzes you physically.
While there are many sports to choose from, I recommend the deadlift.
It is a full-body compound exercise that heavily targets the neglected muscles of your posterior chain, the back half of your body.
With deadlifts alone, and pushups, you can dramatically change your body!
For over a decade I wallowed in a swamp of obesity and depression until I started to focus on moving more and sitting less.
While Dewey Bozella’s inspiring story motivated me to take action, I didn’t think physical activity would have much of an impact.
After all, I frequently walked the treadmill and did dumbbell curls and presses at the neighborhood YMCA.
Yet, I was fatter than ever.
Fortunately, I found the deadlift, which helped me begin my journey back to mental and physical sanity.
See the Best Exercise for Depression; How the Deadlift Saved My Life for more details.
Of course, if you are not interested in deadlifting, there are many other exercises to choose from, such as:
- bodyweight workouts,
- jump rope,
- swimming, or
- ESPN 30 For 30: Vol. 1 (Films 1-15)
- Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes (Actors)
- Peter Berg (Director)
No matter what, like Dewey Bozella, start training today and never give up on your dreams!
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