Black Panther Freed After 41 Years in Solitary

Judge overturns conviction for murder of La. prison guard

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 3, 2013 2:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Herman Wallace is a free man after 41 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana prisons—but he may just have days to live. Wallace, one of the "Angola Three" found guilty of the 1972 murder of a guard, was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer this year, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. He was released after a judge ruled that his murder conviction was unconstitutional and denied the state's request to overturn the order. The 71-year-old's lawyers say he is now bound for a hospital in New Orleans.

Wallace has always denied killing the guard, saying he was targeted because he helped set up a chapter of the Black Panther Party at the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola and led strikes for better conditions, the AP reports. "Tragically, this step toward justice has come as Herman is dying from cancer with only days or hours left to live," an Amnesty International spokesman says. "No ruling can erase the cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions he endured for more than 41 years." One of the two other men convicted of the guard's killing was released in 2001, while the other is still in solitary confinement.

A view of the front entrance of the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La.   (AP file photo/Judi Bottoni)
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