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Lawrence Adams

Man ends 30 wrongful years behind bars today

Ordered to die in the electric chair

Lawrence Adams

A Boston man, Laurence Adams, who spent 30 years in prison on a wrongful murder conviction and was once ordered to die in the electric chair is slated to walk out of court this morning into the arms of his 81-year-old mother.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said late yesterday his office will seek bail for Laurence Adams, but has not yet decided whether to retry him for the 1972 beating death of MBTA worker James C. Corry.

Adams' mother, Mary, said she has never stopped praying her son would come home. "The truth had to come out one way or another," she said.

A month ago, Chief Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert A. Mulligan overturned the 1974 murder conviction, citing a series of violations of Adams' rights, including withholding of key evidence.

One witness against Adams recanted before her death. His defense also discovered a key witness was actually in prison when he claimed he heard Adams confess in a Dorchester home to murder during robbery of the coin boxes.

Adams, now 51, earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in prison. Told about his impending freedom, he said, "I guess I'm going to have to get myself a job fast," according to his attorney, John J. Barter.

Barter spent nine years trying to prove his innocence. "He's had remarkable patience," Barter said.

A spokesman for the DA said the office is still reviewing the case, but decided the "interests of justice" warrant bail. The office is still searching for descendants of Corry and the MBTA has no records, a T spokesman said.

Twenty other men in Suffolk County have had their convictions overturned in the past two decades.