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Terminally ill 'Angola 3' prison inmate released

Oct. 2, 2013 at 10:39 AM   |   Comments

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- After the warden was ordered to return to the prison, dying inmate Herman Wallace was released from Elayn Hunt Prison and went to New Orleans, officials said.

Supporters said Wallace, 71, a former Black Panther and member of the "Angola 3," will spend his last days with friends and family in his hometown, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Wednesday. Wallace was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer earlier this year and has only days or weeks to live.

Hospice care awaited him, but supporters said late Tuesday his medical condition forced Wallace to be taken to the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans for treatment.

The Times-Picayune said for a time Tuesday it looked like Wallace wouldn't be released. Supporters said prison Warden Howard Prince left to eat dinner, saying since he already left the grounds, he couldn't allow Wallace's release. A federal judge ordered him to return, and about an hour later, Wallace left the prison gates in an ambulance.

Wallace's release was ordered earlier Tuesday by Judge Brian Jackson of the Middle District Court of Louisiana. Jackson also overturned a 1974 conviction in which Wallace was found guilty of the murder of a white prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola or "The Farm."

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore then appealed the ruling, which Jackson tossed. The judge then ordered Wallace's immediate release.

Wallace and Albert Woodfox, who was also convicted, have denied the killing for more than 40 years, saying they were set up because they founded a chapter of the Black Panthers at Angola.

The inmates charged with killing the guard became known as the "Angola 3." The third prisoner eventually became a prosecution witness.

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