John Artis, co-defendant for the prizefighter Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, whose triple murder convictions became an international cause célèbre before they were overturned — a reversal that became an indictment of the criminal justice system itself — died on SundayAt his home in Hampton, Va. He75.
Thecause was an abdominal aeurysm. Fred Hogan said.
In 1966, Mr. ArtisHe was 20 years old. Mr. CarterPolice pulled over a 29-year old ranking middleweight boxer from the streets. Paterson, N.J. Mr. Carter’s white DodgeIt allegedly resembled the getaway vehicle used hours earlier in the murders two men and one woman in a local bar.
TheThe victims were of white descent; the suspects were of color. Black. BecauseThe crime occurred just hours after the incident. BlackThe owner of the tavern was killed by a white man. Authorities believe that the triple murder was racially motivated.
Mr. Artis Mr. CarterThey passed lie detector tests and were convicted by an all white jury on the testimony two petty criminals. They were sentenced to three lifetime terms each.
After the trial, persuaded of the defendants’ innocence, Richard SolomonFreelance writer, he formed a defense committee. Mr. Hogan, an investigator for the state public defender’s office; Harold G. Levenson, of WNET‐Channel13; and Selwyn RaabA reporter for The New York Times, tracked down the two witnesses whose accounts had underpinned the prosecution’s case. Mr. RaabA series of award-winning articles were written on the subject.
The1976 verdicts were overturned after witnesses recanted. Mr. Carter Mr. ArtisLater that year, they were convicted once again. One witness then retorted to his earlier testimony. TheInmates were remanded to prison.
Mr. Artis1981 was the year that he was paroled. In 1985, U.S. District Judge H. Lee SarokinIn Newark, N.J., threw out the convictions, excoriating prosecutors for “heinous” constitutional lapses that had “fatally infected the trial” by raising the racial revenge motive and by withholding evidence. Mr. CarterIt was freed.
DuringHis long struggle to vindicate him. Mr. CarterHe was a folk hero for civil rights and inspired an anthem in 1976. Bob Dylan, “Hurricane,” written with Jacques Levy, and Norman Jewison film “The Hurricane” (1999), starring Denzel Washington. (Garland WhittPlay Mr. Artis.)
TheFilm almost erased the important role played by Mr. ArtisHe had defiantly refused an offer to escape a long sentence in prison by incriminating Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter called him “my hero.”
WithHis sterling reputation as an athlete and choirboy is unmatched Boy ScoutHonor student with no prior arrests Mr. ArtisAlso, celebrities, journalists, civil rights figures, and others supported the project. The principal defense lawyers in the case — Myron Beldock, Lewis Steel Leon Friedman — worked for a decade without payment.
“ThePolice and Passaic CountyThe establishment of law-enforcement was made possible Rubin, and I got tied in only because I was with him on the night of the shootings,” Mr. ArtisSubmitted The New York Times1988. “I was always the guy in the background, the other guy in the case that no one knew or cared about.”
Mr. CarterAt 76, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
John Arnold ArtisWas born on Oct. 15, 1946, in Portsmouth, Va., John Artis Jr., a chemical engineering, and Mary Eleanor (Robinson) Artis, a maid. HisParents moved to PatersonWhen he was 8, they told him that they wanted him to grow up with more diversity.
HeWas on the track team Central High SchoolAwarded an athletic scholarship Adams State CollegeIn ColoradoHe declined to attend, as his mother was terminally ill.
IdentifiedHe was a truck driver during the barroom murders. He was arrested just a day before his birth and a month before he was due to enter the asylum. Army. HeAlso described as Mr. Carter’s sparring partner.
Mr. ArtisHe was 20 years old when he was imprisoned and 35 when he was finally freed.
WhileImprisoned at Rahway State Prison (now East Jersey State Prison), he helped rescue four guards who were being held hostage during a prison riot in 1971. HeLater, he was transferred to a medium security prison where he was allowed to enroll in business classes. Glassboro State College (now Rowan University() New Jersey.
HeLater, he said that his return from prison after his second conviction was more difficult because he knew what to expect. HeHe learned to play the drums and also developed his own skills. Buerger’s disease, an incurable circulatory ailment that required the amputation of several fingers and toes. Hewas being treated in an NewarkWhen he was granted parole, he was admitted to hospital.
In 1987, Mr. ArtisHe pleaded guilty in conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. He claimed that he was using the drug to relieve the pain from his circulatory disorder. A judge sentenced him for six years, citing Mr. Artis’s murder convictions, even though they had been overturned.
In1988, following the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision to overturn the murder convictions, the New Jersey Supreme CourtThe sentencing judge in drug case was directed to make an order Mr. Artis’s release.
Mr. ArtisReturn to Virginia, where he counseled young prison inmates at The Norfolk Juvenile Detention CenterLater, they traveled with Mr. CarterPromote their products Innocence International Program.
Mr. ArtisHis wife, DollyHe was a social worker who met a woman named Judith during his second trial. Upon their meeting, she was convinced that he was innocent. Their1980 saw the end of marriage.
HeA sister survived him. Deborah Artis Chibar, and a stepsister Cinda Wallace.
NoIn the triple murder case, one other suspect was also detained.
“I don’t know what the truth is in any historical event,” Rudy Langlais, a producer of the film “The Hurricane,” told The TimesIn 2000. “ToFamilies of the victims Rubin Carter John ArtisThe murders were committed. TheTruth is everywhere Rubin Carter John Artis is that they were unfairly convicted, and there’s evidence to support that.”
Mr. ArtisI had thought about suing the StateOf New JerseyHe told the truth about his life and how he was taken away from him. The Washington Post in 2000 that he couldn’t bear to spend another moment in a courtroom and that he had concluded that another protracted legal challenge would be pointless.
“I won’t ask them to determine what they think my life is worth,” he said of the courts. “I’ve seen what they think it’s worth — nothing.”
Source: NY Times