April 20, 2014 - 11:26 AM
TORONTO - Rubin "Hurricane'' Carter, the former American boxer who spent almost 20 years in jail after twice being convicted of a triple murder he denied committing, has died at his home in Toronto.
He was 76.
His long-time friend and co-accused John Artis says Carter died in his sleep Sunday morning after a battle with prostate cancer.
Carter was convicted along with Artis of murdering three people in a New Jersey bar in 1966.
Their convictions were overturned in 1975, but both were found guilty a second time in 1976.
Lesra Martin, now a lawyer in Kamloops, was one of the original "Canadians," a group which fought for the fighter's freedom.
Martin tells the Globe and Mail in an interview that he never doubted Carter’s innocence, ever since the first time he met him in 1980, standing in the intimidating visitor room at a maximum security prison at just 16 years old.
“I am petrified as I am standing there waiting for him to come, and all of a sudden, he comes up and he realizes that I am shaking and I am scared and he begins to embrace me, and hug me, and whisper in my ear and tell me not to be afraid,” Martin said. “My heart told me, unequivocally, at that point, that is not the heart of someone that could murder three people.”
After serving 19 years, Carter was freed in 1985 when a federal judge overturned the second convictions.
Carter's fight was turned into a song by Bob Dyan.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014