The Dewey Bozella Story
If you never heard of Dewey Bozella until today, this is your lucky day.
His story will inspire 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, his dream was training for 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 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The Innocence Project
In 1990 during a retrial, the prosecutor offered Dewey a deal. He could go free if he confessed to the crime. Dewey said that he would rather die and decided to stay in prison until his innocence is proven.
For years he wrote 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.
Released from prison
The new lawyers had little to go on. There was no DNA evidence, and the primary witnesses were deceased. They 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, the lawyers uncovered 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.
- Ecco Press
- Hardcover Book
- Bozella, Dewey (Author)
Dewey Bozella accepts the 2011 Arthur Ashe courage award
Here is Dewey accepting his 2011 ESPY award as a free man:
Top 10 Dewey Bozella Quotes to never give up on your dreams
- “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.”
- “A man’s reputation is everything.”
- “My worthy cause is my freedom.”
- “Never let fear determine who you are.”
- “And never let where you come from determine where you are going.”
- “Boxing awakened me. I felt free during my workouts.”
- “The only thing to do after a knockdown is to get back up and keep fighting.”
- “Boxing is my life, boxing saved me, gave me discipline, and freedom.”
- “Even in prison, my attitude was I made up my mind to be happy.”
- “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 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 kids. 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 memoir of his life story.
The Dewey Bozella Story – Final Thoughts
The inspirational 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 wrongly imprisoned? Injustice fuels an incredible sense of betrayal.
Nevertheless, in Sing Sing prison, Bozella threw himself into the sport of boxing, till he became the light heavyweight champion.
By doing this, you can move past your depression, which paralyzes you physically.
Choose activities such as:
- boxing or
- deadlifts, or
- the heavy bag and
- jump rope,
- biking, 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 and never give up on your dreams.
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