Help Nuri Muhammad with a second chance

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My friend Nuri has been in jail for 23 years serving a life sentence without parole.  Nuri and I grew up in the same neighborhood, back in the 1970’s.  We were members of an after-school program called the Denison House.  The Denison House taught us so much and kept us off the streets of Dorchester, so imagine my surprise when I heard the news that Nuri was involved in something so tragic.  I thought to myself that it could not be Nuri he is not bad tempered person. 

My heart felt like it was coming out of my chest and I cried for days. Not just one life was taken but several lives were taken that fatal day. Nuri was another systematic black life put behind bars during an era where he did not and could not have had a fair trial.  Nuri is serving an unjust sentence made by the court. I lost all contact with Nuri after the incident for years because I did not know who to talk to or how to get in touch with someone who had gone to jail.  I wish I did, I would have been there for him every step of the way.  Twenty-three years later we have now reconnected and it hurts more than it did the day I heard of his conviction.  

I truly sympathize with the loss, pain and suffering endured by the victim’s family.  Unfortunately, Nuri’s role and punishment did not fit the crime. His sentence of life without parole is inhumane.

In April 1992, Nuri was with a group of his friends. One of them spotted an individual who he believed had attacked him earlier that day. His friend entered the restaurant and confronted the individual.  During the confrontation Nuri saw his friend down on the ground and he entered the restaurant to try to help his friend.  When this happened the rest of his friends entered the restaurant, and this unforeseen incident took a very tragic turn.  A few friends, along with Nuri started punching and kicking the individual, the friend who confronted the individual pulled out a knife, and stabbed the man multiple times.  Nuri nor the others knew that their friend had a knife or that he intended to use it on this person.  They didn’t even know that this individual was stabbed until moments later.

                Nuri was arrested, along with several of his friends, and charged with 1st degree murder and assault & battery with a dangerous weapon (Shod foot)

 At the trial the prosecutor accused Nuri and several of his friends with being equally guilty as the one friend who stabbed the innocent victim, because he had allegedly kicked and punched the man, during the incident.  Nuri was found guilty of 1st degree murder based on legal theory of “Joint venture” and assault & battery with a dangerous weapon, i.e., his foot and a knife.  

The prosecutors’ medical examiner, testified that the victim passed away from multiple stab wounds not from head trauma due to multiple kicks or punches.  Many testified that Nuri’s involvement was kicking and punching.  No one testified that Nuri had or used a knife; however the prosecutor was somehow able to speculate to the jury that Nuri possibly used a knife, though there was no such evidence.  

                  While incarcerated Nuri has committed himself to helping others and rehabilitating himself.  At the onset, he attended substance abuse counseling, participated in health awareness, emotional awareness, alternative to violence and HIV aids counseling.  He’s also been a peer educator for Project Youth which is a youth program that allows prisoners to mentor high school and college young adults.  He has been involved with this program for approximately 20 years.  He particular loves and enjoys this program, because it gives him the platform to try to save a young person from making similar bad choices like he did that one terrifying day. 

Nuri takes his journey of redemption seriously, he is still the same humble person I grew up with.  His actions since this tragic day speaks volumes about his true character and how he deserves a second chance at life.

                The purpose of this petition is to gain support in fighting for what I and others perceive as an injustice.  I would greatly appreciate your support signing this petition that will be forwarded to Governor Charles Baker regarding Nuri’s petition of Clemency before him.  I also welcome any advice and support from the legal community and public.  Nuri does not have a lawyer at this time because his lawyer passed away in the midst of pursuing a post-conviction appeal. His lifetime of solitude has left him indigent and thus unable to afford a shot at his own freedom. I’ve also contacted almost every Legal Clinical program in Boston, to no avail.

                I believe that serving the rest of his life in prison, for a very limited role in the incident, is unfair, unjust, and absolutely unreasonable.  Nuri is far more of a benefit to society as these experiences have shaped him into an amazingly thoughtful man. Please, give my friend a chance.

I thank you very much for reading my petition. 



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