A former Black Panther activist who was in solitary confinement for 43 years was freed from a United States prison after years of legal cases trying to prove his innocence.
Albert Woodfox was the last one of the “Angola Three” activists to be freed from jail; their case invoked many emotions out of activist groups, but anger was the one that presided the most.
In June 2015, a federal judge ordered Woodfox’s unconditional release that ceased any other trials that brought up any charges around murdering prison guard Brian Miller. Albert Woodfox managed to overturn his conviction for the crime twice, but Louisiana’s attorney general was determined to continue with a third trial.
After pleading “no contest” to two smaller charges, he was released on his 69th birthday.
He, later, released a statement.
“Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges,” Woodfox said in a statement.
“I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”
Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry said that the deal they made for Woodfox to be released brought “finality” and “closure” to drawn out case in a statement.
“Albert Woodfox, by his own plea, stands convicted of the homicide of Brent Miller. In accordance with that plea, he was sentenced to 42 years of incarceration and given credit for time served,” Landry said.
The Angola Three said they were targeted by prison oficials because they spoke out against wrongful treatment and segregation at the notorious Louisiana prison what was built on a former slave plantation.
Woodfox and Herman Wallace, who were sent to Angola for unrelated cases of armed robbery, were convicted of murder in 1972. The third member of the group, Robert King, was in Angola for 29 years in solitary confinement until his conviction for a separate prison murder was overturned in 2001. Wallace was released in 2013 and died soon after to cancer.
Regardless of the deal that was made, it’s nice that justice is finally being served.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)