A story worth telling. When Bobby Bostic was released from prison last week, the first person he hugged was Evelyn Baker, the now-retired judge who sent him to prison nearly three decades ago. The unique case that occurred in USA it has become viral on social networks.
Baker, who spent the last four years fighting to get him out, said that she was “ecstatic” to see Bostic get out of prison after serving 27 years for a series of robberies he committed when he was 16.
“This is better than Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving all rolled into one”he told 48 Hours correspondent Erin Moriarty, who has been covering the case for years.
Bostic, now 43, turned his life around in prison. He went to school and read and wrote books, though I had no hope of getting out. But all that changed thanks to his unlikely ally, Baker, who even appeared at a parole hearing to demand his release.
Sentenced to 241 years in prison
The day of his release once seemed inconceivable. Bostic was jailed in 1995 after he and a friend committed a series of armed robberies in St. Louis. One victim was grazed by a bullet.
Convinced that Bostic was a lost cause, then Justice Baker showed no mercy after he was found guilty of 17 counts and ordered their sentences to run consecutively, totaling 241 years.
In a prison interview two weeks before his release, Bostic said he was not angry with Baker. “It motivated me to say, ‘One day, if I ever get out, I’ll see her. And she will realize the mistake she made when I see the person I’ve become’”said.
That didn’t seem very likely since Bostic would not be eligible for parole until he turned 112. Many people would just give up, but Bostic found the drive even when he had nowhere else to go.
“Once you make so many mistakes, you get tired and want to do something different”said. So I started reading. That’s how I found myself, in books. And that is the greatest peace I have ever had in the world. It’s a natural high, basically.”
Bostic earned an associate’s degree and he is working on his degree in business. He wrote poetry and prose: 15 books in all, including a biography of his mother. The startling turnaround from him convinced Baker that he had made a mistake.
“241 years is crazy, when I think about it”he told Moriarty in a 2021 interview. “And I’ll say it right now: It’s crazy. He was a boy. I was a little boy”he added. Baker acknowledged that the case haunted her and that she, too, changed over the years.
The help of the judge who sentenced him
Baker began advocating for Bostic, and in the summer of 2021, the Missouri legislature passed the Bobby Bostic Actwhich allowed him and other inmates jailed as minors to apply for parole.
It was an unusual scene when Baker appeared at a parole hearing. calling for the release of an inmate that she herself had sentenced.
“I don’t know if it happened before, but it was something I wanted to do”he told Moriarty last week. “Because it was time for Bobby to come home and was with his family. He wasn’t the kid I sentenced.”.
Late last year, the parole board gave Bostic a date by which she could finally go home.
“The Bobby Bostic I put in prison is not the Bobby Bostic who got out”Baker said. “Bobby did what a lot of people can’t do. He created himself. He took the good, the bad, and the ugly, and turned it into something quite beautiful.”.
Second chances for minors tried
None of Bostic’s victims objected to his release and one of them even wrote a letter supporting her. In the US, more and more inmates arrested as minors are getting second chances. In Missouri, none of those released last year reoffended or returned to prison.
Bostic, who plans to spend Thanksgiving with his family and Baker, said he understands that some people don’t believe that inmates who were convicted as minors deserve a second chance.