In 1966, William Sullivan and another man robbed a Railway Express payroll office in Boston. Sullivan fatally shot a guard and was arrested immediately and the other man escaped. Three other employees later identified George Reissfelder as the shooter’s accomplice. When arrested, he was carrying a revolver like the gun carried by the second robber.
In 1967, both Sullivan and Reissfelder were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1972, Sullivan died in prison, and it was not until 1982 that Reissfelder was appointed an attorney to help him prove his innocence and win release. The lawyer who had represented Sullivan came to Reissfelder’s attorney saying, “As God is my witness, the cops knew it, the prosecutor knew it, the judge knew it – this guy Reissfelder was not guilty.”
Finally, Reissfelder’s attorney discovered that Sullivan had made a confession of Reissfelder’s innocence to his attorney, who felt duty-bound to keep silent. It took a waiver from Sullivan’s family to obtain the attorney’s testimony and finally secure Reissfelder’s release. Following Reissfelder’s release in 1982, the legislature twice failed to award him compensation. Reissfelder passed away in 1991.