A forthcoming Netflix docuseries will explore the case of Sean Ellis, a Dorchester man who spent 22 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of murdering Boston Police detective John Mulligan in 1993. Trial 4, the eight part series set to be released on November 11, will feature several prominent local voices, including those of Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins and former Reporter correspondent Elaine Murphy, who covered development of the case until Ellis’ murder convictions were reversed and he returned to society a free man in 2015.
After Ellis’ first two trials resulted in hung juries, a third trial saw him convicted on murder one charges in 1995, based on scant evidence and a witness ID that was later discovered to have been coerced by corrupt officers working the case. Subsequent investigations revealed that those officers--Kenneth Acerra, Walter Robinson, and John Brazil--had participated in armed robberies of drug dealers along with Mulligan, before framing Ellis, a 19-year-old who was buying diapers at the Roslindale Walgreens where Mulligan was found shot to death in his car. The officers were later convicted on felony charges.
A trailer and synopsis of Trial 4, directed and produced by a French duo of Rémy Burkel and Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and filmed in Boston over the course of the last two years, indicates the series will explore in-depth the “culture of cover-up” within BPD and the flaws of the criminal justice system at large. The series will begin streaming on Netflix on November 11.
Watch the trailer: