Family members of William Allen, the 48-year-old Brockton man who received a rare commute from Governor Charlie Baker for a first-degree murder conviction, are preparing to welcome their prodigal son home in the coming months after 27 years in prison.
Allen’s father and stepmother spoke of the governor’s decision from the steps in their home, where William is expected to return “very soon,” according to his lawyer.
“We still have to be a little patient, but we all know that one day he will walk on these steps, to this door and ring the bell,” said his stepmother Frances Bynoe.
Allen was convicted of first-degree murder in 1997 after he and his co-defender broke into Purvis Bester’s home with intentions to rob the property. During that robbery in 1994, Allen’s co-defendant Purvis was stabbed to death. As a result, Allen was sentenced to life behind bars without parole.
Bynoe credits his stepson’s release to the character he demonstrated while in prison, which Governor Baker reiterated in his recommendation for transformation:
“While incarcerated, Mr. Allen participated in significant programming – among them alternatives to restorative justice and violence – as both a student and a facilitator. community and consistently held a job, including working as a companion and assistant for seriously mentally ill patients at Bridgewater State Hospital. “
“He did not take that time just to say oh, okay, okay, I’m here for life. He was still fighting for his life,” Bynoe said.
Advocacy group Second Chance Justice began lobbying for Allen’s freedom in 2017 and was joined by New England Patriots captain Devin McCourty, who heard the commuting news on Wednesday.
“It’s probably the biggest team win I’ve ever been a part of,” McCourty said.
In a statement, William Allen thanked the governor and his lawyers and promised, “I will never let you down.”
The third and final step towards Allen’s release will be to consider his case in the gubernatorial council, and Allen’s lawyer said members of this group have already expressed optimism about approval – meaning William could be home in a few months.
If approved, Allen’s first-degree murder sentence will be downgraded to second-degree murder, which allows for parole after 15 years in prison. Allen is then expected to go through the probation process, his attorney said. The state’s last commute was in 2014.
“You just do not know how much in my heart, right now, I feel for William, and the things that he and I are going to achieve from this point on,” Allen’s father said.