With a $5 million settlement, the city of Boston has closed the books on the wrongful conviction of Shawn Drumgold, who spent 15 years in jail for the 1988 murder of Darlene Tiffany Moore.
The Moore murder shocked the city—and the nation—in 1988. The 12-year-old girl was sitting on a mailbox near her mother’s Humboldt Avenue home. A 2003 Boston Phoenix profile of Drumgold laid out the horror of her death in stark detail.
The victim was a 12-year-old local girl named Darlene Tiffany Moore. Moore had been perched on a mailbox, chatting with friends, when gunfire rang out. Though the shots were reportedly directed at a gang member sitting nearby, three bullets tore into the little girl — two into her back and one into her head. She died shortly afterward. Across the country, Tiffany Moore’s murder elicited outrage, fear, and a lust for revenge. Here in Boston, there was a sense of something approaching mob fury in the hunt for her killer. People wanted the perpetrator punished, and they wanted it done quickly. Ten days later, the police charged Shawn Drumgold, a 23-year-old local drug dealer, with the crime.
Three years after the shooting, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch brought Moore’s story into popular culture with their cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wildside.’’ The song also included a verse about Charles Stuart’s 1989 murder of his pregnant wife Carol.
The song was written and initially performed by Boston Hip Hop artist MC Spice, who replaced Reed’s early 70s imagery of hangers-on in New York’s underground scene with two recent Boston murders to reflect the violence in inner city Boston.
From MC Spice’s blog:
"Wild Side" told the whole story of Charles Stewart, and touched on the story of the little girl Tiffany who visited Boston for the summer and was killed in the crossfire of gang warfare while sitting on a mailbox. The writer, M.C. Spice, was moved by these two stories so much, he placed Tiffany and the Charles Stewart case front and center, and the powerful video accompanying the haunting track and deep lyrics, gave way to a second hit for Mark Wahlberg.
Lou Reed devotees hated (and still hate) the cover, but in 1992 the Funky Bunch version peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Magazine Hot 100 list, and served as a credible follow-up to the band’s “Good Vibrations.’’