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Former Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies

Hurricane
Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter in 2002. Carter, who was wrongfully convicted, died April 20. (Image courtesy AIDWYC)

Prostate cancer has claimed the life of a prizefighting middleweight boxer who spent 19 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder, it was reported April 20. Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter died Easter Sunday in Toronto, according to the Assoc. in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted, or AIDWYC.

Carter was 76.

After being exonerated of his prison term in 1985, Carter made it his mission in life to help others like him who were wrongfully convicted. He served as executive director of the AIDWYC for 10 years.

Because of his status as a championship boxer, his criminal trial and subsequent sentencing received widespread media attention.

Carter and a friend were arrested by police in 1966 in relation to a triple homicide at a New Jersey bar. Both Carter and his friend, John Artis, were tried and convicted twice – once in 1967 and again in 1976. The 1976 conviction was overturned nine years later and another trial was not pursued, allowing Carter and Artis to be exonerated.

Artis and Carter maintained a close relationship. It was reported earlier this month that Artis moved in with and began caring for Carter after he (Carter) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012.

Bob Dylan made a song entitled “Hurricane” in 1975, which protested Carter’s imprisonment. In 1999, a film starring Denzel Washington – also entitled Hurricane – chronicled Carter’s boxing career, imprisonment, and eventual release.

Prior to his imprisonment, Carter had a promising boxing career, winning 27 of his 40 matches, including 19 knockouts. He was only knocked out once in his career. His final fight was June 8, 1966, a 10-round loss to Juan Carlos Rivero in Argentina.

“Rubin spent many years supporting the work of AIDWYC by reviewing cases, attending inquiries, participating in press conferences, supporting the wrongly convicted (both in Canada and abroad), and encouraging important changes in the Canadian and American criminal justice related to wrongful convictions,” a blog post on the AIDWYC website stated. “Rubin was the ‘face’ of AIDWYC for many years and was devoted to raising awareness of these grave injustices.”

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