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The Execution Squad Fraud: Bum Beefed

In 1976, Stephen Doherty was doing time in Walpole State Prison for a bank robbery and was about to be transferred to MCI Framingham to be placed in a work release program. This is the last step before actually being released back to the street. In the meantime, he had been doing his best to keep as low a profile as possible. Once you're that close to getting out, you don't even like to come out of your cell. In a place like Walpole, in the seventies, you never knew from one moment to the next what was going to happen. Fights, murders, riots, and lots more were commonplace. They were just part of the environment.

However, on the night of December 2, 1976, at the instigation of a politically ambitious district attorney named William Delahunt, (now a United States Congressman), Doherty and eight other inmates were dramatically whisked out of Walpole at midnight and placed in the segregation block (a.k.a. "the hole") at MCI Bridgewater, a combination prison and insane asylum.

The next morning, the Boston Globe ran a bizarre story, that was filled with lies, under a dramatically phony front page headline, falsely claiming that the police had uncovered an execution squad at Walpole.

"Police discover inmate execution squad at Walpole state prison"

This case is a textbook example of how the system can be manipulated and abused through the combined efforts of an ambitious prosecutor/politician, unethical or overzealous police work, and certain elements of the media who find it to their advantage to parrot what the prosecutors, or the cops, tell them and report it as fact. Of course, the suppliers of the information are usually identified as "informed sources" and the "facts" are always prefaced with "allegedly".

The midnight transfer of the fictitious Execution Squad from Walpole to Bridgewater was made strictly for publicity purposes, as they were returned to Walpole the very next day and placed in the segregation unit, the infamous Ten Block, where they could have been placed right from the start, minus all of the fanfare. However, then Delahunt and the State Police wouldn’t have gotten their headlines.

Doherty was subsequently falsely convicted on the testimony of a lying inmate witness, a lying prosecutor and state trooper, who both also hid evidence, and a judge who blatantly allowed, and contributed to, the aforementioned collaborators underhanded tactics. It took Doherty 20 years to prove this because every time that he discovered new evidence the Department of Correction shipped him out of state to federal penitentiaries. And, every time the courts ordered him back to Massachusetts, the DOC kept him locked in the hole, without even charging him with any disciplinary violations. He did about ten years in the feds and ten years in the hole, coincidentally, the two most challenging places to be housed when you have to do legal work.