After Decades In Solitary Confinement Judge Orders Last Member of Angola 3 Released

George Lavender February 19, 2016

Albert Wood­fox, the last mem­ber of the Ango­la 3” still behind bars, is expect­ed to be freed Fri­day after­noon after more than forty years in prison, most­ly in soli­tary con­fine­ment. Wood­fox had always declared his inno­cence in the killing of prison guard Brent Miller in 1972. As Maya Lau of The Advo­cate reports, by enter­ing a no con­test plea to less­er charges of manslaugh­ter and aggra­vat­ed bur­glary, he is enti­tled to be released from prison for time served.

A Black Pan­ther activist at the Louisiana State Pen­i­ten­tiary at Ango­la, Wood­fox and co-defen­dant Her­man Wal­lace main­tained they were blamed for the killing because they had agi­tat­ed for bet­ter con­di­tions dur­ing one of its blood­i­est peri­ods. Wood­fox was con­vict­ed twice for the mur­der, once in 1973 and again in 1998, but judges iden­ti­fied prob­lems with the way the grand juries were select­ed, over­turn­ing the convictions.

U.S. Dis­trict Court Judge James Brady, one of those judges, went even fur­ther last sum­mer, order­ing the state to release the 69-year-old Wood­fox and ban­ning the Attor­ney Gen­er­al from retry­ing him for the crime. But the 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals over­turned Brady, say­ing a third tri­al could go for­ward. Con­tin­ue reading… 

Togeth­er, Wood­fox, Wal­lace and Robert King, anoth­er Black Pan­ther Par­ty mem­ber, became known as the Ango­la 3,” after the orig­i­nal name of the Louisiana State Prison. King, who was nev­er charged with Miller’s mur­der but who author­i­ties main­tained had been involved, was released in 2001. Wal­lace was freed from prison in 2013, and died three days lat­er of advanced liv­er cancer. 

George Laven­der is an award-win­ning radio and print jour­nal­ist based in Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @GeorgeLavender.
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