Dewey Bozella

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Dewey Bozella
Born1959 (age 59–60)
ResidenceFishkill, New York
NationalityUnited States American
Known forServed 26 years in prison for murder, conviction overturned after being proved innocent

Dewey Bozella (born 1959) is a former professional boxer who is best known for being imprisoned for a conviction which was eventually overturned. Convicted in 1983 for the murder of an elderly woman, Bozella served 26 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2009.[1]


Bozella was nine when his father beat his pregnant mother so badly that she later died. He was a witness to the beating. His father ran away and never returned. One of his brothers was stabbed to death, another was shot and killed, and a third died of AIDS.[2] As a teenager, Bozella trained for a time with former world champion boxer Floyd Patterson.[3] At 20, Bozella was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for attempted robbery.[4] He earned a bachelor's degree from Mercy College and a master’s from New York Theological Seminary.[5]

Alleged offense and wrongful conviction[edit]

In 1977, 92-year-old Emma Crapser was murdered in her Poughkeepsie, New York apartment. Police alleged that Crapser walked in on a burglary that was being committed by a then 18-year-old Bozella, who then killed her. In 1983, Bozella was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He continued to claim he was innocent and refused to admit to the crimes he was alleged to have committed, even when in front of the parole board, who denied him parole on four occasions. Bozella contacted the Innocence Project, who agreed to examine his case. When the Innocence Project discovered that there was no DNA evidence remaining to be tested, they referred the case to WilmerHale. Lawyers at WilmerHale discovered new evidence that had been suppressed by prosecutors showing Bozella was in fact innocent and had been framed. Supreme Court Justice James Rooney of Putnam County agreed that the Dutchess County District Attorney, John King, had failed to disclose crucial evidence which would have proved Bozella's innocence.[1][6][7] On October 28, 2009, Bozella was finally released from prison after serving 26 years.[8][9]

Prison life[edit]

Bozella was imprisoned in New York State, including at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. While incarcerated at Sing Sing, he became the prison's light heavyweight boxing champion.[7]

Life after prison[edit]

On October 28, 2009, after being released from custody, Bozella began working with youths at a local gym in Newburgh, New York. At the gym, which is now closed, he worked with teenagers teaching them about boxing and about the dangers of joining gangs. He frequently visits various organizations to deliver speeches about his life experiences. Bozella is a frequent sight at New York City area boxing cards.

Bozella currently lives in Fishkill, New York with his wife, Trena. While accepting an award in 2011, he told an ESPN reporter that he still dreamed of having at least one professional fight one day. In 2011, boxing champion Bernard Hopkins helped Bozella's dream come true.[7]

2011 ESPY Awards[edit]

On July 13, 2011, Bozella's life was chronicled in ESPN's annual ESPY Award show in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, where he was honored as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.[10]

Professional debut[edit]

On October 15, 2011, at the age of 52 years, Bozella won his professional boxing debut[11] on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins vs Chad Dawson match-up at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, against Larry Hopkins by a 4-round unanimous decision.[12][13] Bozella had been training with Bernard Hopkins in Philadelphia.[14] President Barack Obama telephoned Bozella to wish him luck in the upcoming fight.[15]


In 2012, Bozella was a guest at the Ring 10 Veteran's Boxing Foundation 2nd Annual Fundraiser where he credited boxing and the champions with whom he shared the dais for saving his life.[16][17]


In 2016, Bozella published his memoir, Stand Tall: Fighting For My Life, Inside and Outside the Ring.[18]

Professional boxing record[edit]

1 Wins (0 knockouts), 0 Losses, 0 Draws, 0 No Contest
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Win 1-0 United States Larry Hopkins UD 4 (4) 2011-10-15 United States Staples Center, Los Angeles, California Bozella's professional debut.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Former boxer wrongly imprisoned for 26 years to speak Monday". April 2, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  2. ^ "After long injustice, Bozella will get his fight". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision". 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  5. ^
  6. ^ For the text of the judgment see
  7. ^ a b c "Bozella to accept ESPY award years after wrongful murder conviction". 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  8. ^ Free man Bozella wins boxing debut at 52 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2012-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ |newswell|text|Environment|s [dead link]
  11. ^ Greg Beacham. 2011 October 15. AP Sports Writer. 52-year-old ex-con Bozella wins pro boxing debut. [1]
  12. ^ Following long injustice, Dewey Bozella will get his fight
  13. ^ BoxRec Schedule
  14. ^ Satterfield, Lem (2011-09-29). "Breaking news: Wrongfully-accused Bozella approved for Hopkins-Dawson undercard | RingTV". Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  15. ^ Man wrongly convicted of murder makes boxing debut
  16. ^ "Living Legends Unite to Make a Difference at Ring 10 2nd Annual Fundraiser | Boxing 101 | Sports Media 101". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  17. ^ "Ring 10 | Helping Retired Boxers Through The Toughest Fight of Their Lives". 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  18. ^ Bozella, Dewey (2016-12-06). Stand Tall: Fighting for My Life, Inside and Outside the Ring. Ecco. ISBN 9780062208156.

External links[edit]