Thursday, 4:30 PM
Man wrongly convicted in Boston police shooting found dead
(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
On Jan. 23, 2004, Stephan Cowans walked out of Suffolk Superior Court a free man after 6½ years in prison following his exoneration in the shooting of a police officer. Cowans was found shot to death Thursday in Randolph.
By David Abel, Globe Staff
RANDOLPH -- Three years after being exonerated in the shooting of a Boston police officer, a 37-year-old former Roxbury man was found shot to death Thursday afternoon in his new home, prosecutors said today.
Stephan Cowans, who spent 6½ years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of shooting Sergeant Gregory Gallagher in 1997, was apparently shot by someone he let into his home, Norfolk District Attorney William Keating said at a news conference today in front of Randolph Police Department.
"There's a sad kind of irony that a person who had a second chance found himself in this position,” Keating said. "We're trying to find out exactly what happened."
The wrongful conviction led to the temporary closure of the police department's fingerprint unit and changes in how evidence is gathered and analyzed.
Cowans was exonerated in the wounding of Gallagher in 2004, following 6½ years in prison, after DNA evidence recovered near the crime scene was tested at the urging of the New England Innocence Project. It was not his. Authorities reexamined a fingerprint found at the scene and determined that police had misidentified it as belonging to Cowans.
In August 2006, Cowans received a $3.2 million settlement from the city and was also given $500,000 in compensation from the state for being wrongfully imprisoned. Today in Randolph, yellow police tape surrounded Cowans's four-bedroom, two-story colonial home, which he bought this year.
Keating would only say there was a fight between an assailant and Cowans. He provided little other detail about the shooting. Cowans's body was found Thursday afternoon, but investigators did not say when he was killed.