Friends of Andrew P. Puopolo '77, killed in 1976 in Boston's Combat Zone, reacted with mixed feelings yesterday to the news that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has granted a new trial to the three men convicted two years ago of murdering Puopolo.
The Court granted the new trial because district attorney Thomas J. Mundy, prosecutor for the case, used peremptory challenges to eliminate black jurors. The three defendants--all of them black--were convicted of murdering Puopolo on Nov. 16, 1977.
Thomas J. Lincoln '77, who was injured in the same fight that resulted in Puopolo's death, said yesterday, "I'm a little upset and disappointed in our judicial system." He said that he thought the original trial had been fair.
Joe Kross '79, a colleague of Puopolo on the football team, said yesterday, "Andy never had a second chance." Another teammate of Puopolo's, Alphonse Ippolito '79, added, "It doesn't seem that justice is fair."
Michael T. Clark '79 said he was disappointed that the first trial did not lead to public action to make the Combat Zone safer.
One acquaintance of Puopolo, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed with the court's decision to grant a new trial. The first trial was "a farce" and was "handled with the usual Boston racial overtones," the student said.
The decision to schedule a new trial marks the first time that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has prohibited peremptory challenges based on the race of the juror.