http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20050530154114492 [Broken]TV thief freed - after 35 years
Julian Borger in Washington
Monday May 30, 2005
A man was released from a North Carolina jail over the weekend after serving 35 years for stealing a black and white television set.
Junior Allen, a black migrant worker from neighbouring Georgia, will remain on probation for another five years, so he will not be entirely free until he is 70.
"I'm glad to be out," Mr Allen said on his release.
"I've done too much time for what I did. I won't be truly happy until I see a sign that says I'm outside of North Carolina."
Friends drove him over the state line to Georgia, where he will live with his sister, under the supervision of parole authorities.
Mr Allen was imprisoned in 1970, when he was 30 years old. President Richard Nixon was in the White House and had announced the deployment of troops in Cambodia.
In Manhattan, the first tower of the World Trade Centre had just been completed, and the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet had entered commercial service.
Edward Heath was elected prime minister in Britain,
Mr Allen was convicted of sneaking into the unlocked home of an 87-year-old woman and stealing her 19-inch black-and-white Motorola TV, worth about $140 (£78 at today's exchange rate).
The judge, Pou Bailey, sentenced him to life. Under current sentencing guidelines the same crime today would draw a maximum of three years' imprisonment.
Mr Allen was denied parole 25 times because of poor behaviour, while murderers, rapists and child-molesters came and went at the prison.
Last year the North Carolina parole commission offered him freedom if he could complete a work-release programme without trouble.
He was allowed out to work in a restaurant washing dishes and cleaning floors, and performed so well he was released early.
Enoch Hasberry, who ran the work-release programme, expressed concern that Mr Allen might not be able to adjust to life outside prison.
"He has been incarcerated so long, I'm not sure he's going to make it out there," Mr Hasberry told the News & Observer newspaper.
"I'm not sure he's going to want to stay out.
"For a black and white TV, how much do you have to pay? We've got an in-house joke here: How much time would he have gotten if he had stolen a colour TV?"
There has to be more to this case. Has anyone heard anything about this?
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