Boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was twice wrongly convicted of triple murder and later became the subject of a famous Bob Dylan song and Denzel Washington biopic, died this morning at 76.
His death was confirmed Sunday by John Artis, a caregiver and associate.
Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, N.J., in 1966. He was convicted alongside Artis in 1967 and again in a new trial in 1976.
Prior to his conviction, Carter traveled the world fighting as a middleweight boxer. What he lacked in height, he made up for in a furious, aggressive approach that led to many early-round knockouts as well as his nickname. In the early 1960s, Carter was frequently listed among boxing’s top middleweight contenders.
Carter was eventually freed in 1985 with the help of a group of Canadian advocates who led an effort to overturn his conviction. Carter later moved to Toronto, where he passed away after a battle with prostate cancer.
After being released from prison, the Paterson-raised pugilist championed the cases of other convicts, who were potentially wrongly convicted. In late February, Carter wrote a deathbed editorial for the New York Daily News on behalf of a prisoner named David McCallum, whom he believed was also convicted in a racially motivated case.
My single regret in life is that David McCallum of Brooklyn — a man incarcerated in 1985, the same year I was released, and represented by Innocence International since 2004 — is still in prison. I request only that McCallum be granted a full hearing by the Brooklyn conviction integrity unit, now under the auspices of the new district attorney, Ken Thompson.
In 1993, Carter was given an honorary title belt by the World Boxing Commission, acknowledging the boxing title contentions that never were.