A Mohammad Ali Fight and a Wrongful Conviction


Students and attorneys at the Medill Innocence Project and the Center on Wrongful Convictions, both affiliated with Northwestern University, have uncovered evidence that could uncover a 1981 wrongful murder conviction.

Anthony McKinney was convicted of shooting a security guard on Sept. 15, 1978, the night Mohammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks for the heavyweight championship. McKinney was 18 at the time, and says he signed a false confession after police beat him with pipes.

Two witnesses, ages 15 and 18, allegedly told police they had seen McKinney kill the victim, shortly after the 10th round of the Ali fight. But the victim was dead, and the police had been called, before the fight reached the 9th round. Both witnesses have also said that police coerced them to testify against McKinney. Attorneys at McKinney’s trial knew about evidence pointing to other perpetrators, but the jury never heard it.

The journalism students were working on McKinney's case under the direction of David Protess, director of the Medill School of Journalism Innocence Project.

"Anthony's plight is about the most tragic I've ever seen," Protess said. "He not only has been locked up for almost two-thirds of his life for a crime he did not commit, but the actual perpetrators were known right from the start."

Read the full story here

. (Chicago Sun-Times, 11/20/08)

Read more about the case at the

Medill Innocence Project website



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