Prisoner Wins Release Only to Die Days Later
(CN) - A man convicted of murder died days after a federal judge threw out the original indictment that had landed him in solitary confinement for over 40 years.
Herman Wallace was one of three men fingered in the murder of a guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1972. The others were Albert Woodfax and Robert King, whose conviction was overturned in 2001. The so-called Angola 3 were originally incarcerated for unrelated offenses, and they argued that they had been accused of the murder because of their efforts to redress racial segregation and inhumane treatment inside the prison.
As the trio became the subject of two documentaries, Amnesty International campaigned for a re-evaluation of their cases and an end to their isolation in solitary cells. The rights group's report cited a lack of physical evidence, potentially exculpatory DNA evidence lost, and the reliance of "questionable" witness testimony. The widow of the murdered prison guard also expressed doubt that Angola Three were responsible for her ex-husband's death.
Wallace was in the grip of late stages of liver cancer when a federal judge ordered his release, on Tuesday.
Instead of tackling the criticisms of the trial by human rights advocates, the judge's ruling denounced what he said occurred before indictment: the systematic exclusion of women from the grand jury.
Wallace reportedly died Friday, three days after his release from prison.