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'Angola 3' Inmate Dies Just Days After Being Freed

Herman Wallace, one of the "Angola 3" inmates who survived more than 40 years of solitary confinement for the killing of a guard, died on Friday, just days after a judge overturned his conviction and ordered him free, saying he had not received a fair trial.

Scott reported earlier this week that the judge ordered a new trial for Wallace because at the time of his original one women were unconstitutionally barred from serving on a grand jury. Scott added:

"Wallace, who became a member of the Black Panther Party while in prison, was serving a 50-year sentence for armed robbery at Angola State Prison in 1972. A riot over poor conditions had broken out, and 23-year-old prison guard Brent Miller was fatally stabbed. Wallace and another Black Panther inmate, Albert Woodfox, were convicted of the murder.

"Earlier this year, Wallace was diagnosed with liver cancer."

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reports Wallace died at the home of a friend.

His lawyer told the paper some of his last words were: "I am free. I am free" but that Wallace did not have "hate in his heart ... despite the cruelty [he] was shown."

Wallace always maintained he was innocent. Prosecutors still believe Wallace was guilty.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.