Marc Howard and Marty have been friends since they were classmates at the Lovey Dovey Preschool. For 20 years, the Georgetown University political science professor has been following Marty's case.
Marc says he clearly remembers the day Marty's parents were murdered. "Word got out pretty early in the morning that something happened to Marty's parents. We were just completely shocked," Marc says. "And then everybody's concern was for Marty. It never occurred to us that Marty could be considered a suspect. It was always, 'Is Marty okay?'"
After police said Marty confessed to the murders, Marc says there was a lot of confusion. As editor of the school paper, The Purple Parrot, Marc wrote an article about the case. "It was a neutral story that was trying to cover all sides of the case, but really what I was pointing to was a lot of the evidence was indicating Marty's innocence. Or at least a much more complicated case than the prosecutors were trying to convey," Marc says.
Marc decided to pen an editorial called "Irresponsible Journalism." "[It] condemned the mainstream media ... for basically serving as kind of the mouthpiece of the prosecutors and really abandoning the presumption of innocence, which is supposed to be the backbone of our country," Marc says. "Looking back on this piece—which I wrote as a very naïve and idealistic 17-year-old—I'm very proud of it because I got this story right."
Because of Marty, Marc is now a first-year law student—in addition to being a parent and a full-time professor. "I've realized there's so many other Martys in prison and the system is broken and something needs to be done about it, so I'm going to contribute to that effort," he says.
Views expressed in that edition of The Purple Parrot do not reflect the opinions or policies of the Port Jefferson Union Free School District.