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Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 14:51:28 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: New appeal filed in long-running Angola prison case
New appeal filed in long-running Angola prison case
By ALAN SAYRE
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- An inmate who has spent most of the past three
decades in solitary confinement for the 1972 stabbing death of a state
prison guard is trying to have his conviction overturned for a second time.
Albert Woodfox, 55, is serving a life sentence for the killing of Louisiana
State Penitentiary security officer Brent Miller, who was stabbed to death
at Angola during a period of racial unrest at the sprawling plantation prison.
Woodfox and co-defendant Herman Wallace, 61, are also suing to get out
of solitary confinement, where they have spent most of their time since
Miller was killed on April 17, 1972.
Wallace has a motion to overturn his original conviction pending in state
court. Woodfox is now challenging his second conviction in Miller's
Woodfox won a new trial during the 1990s, but was convicted a second
time by a jury in Tangipahoa Parish and was re-sentenced to life without
parole in 1999.
In a motion filed in state district court in Amite, Woodfox claims that two of
three living prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony against
him and Wallace. The motion also says Woodfox has identified a new
witness who says a now-deceased prisoner admitted killing the guard.
Woodfox's defense team has retained experts that can perform scientific
tests on evidence that were not available or not performed in 1972, the
motion says. The motion asks that the state be required to produce such
evidence as fingernail scrapings taken from the victim and clothing items.
In a federal court suit, Woodfox and Wallace claim their years in solitary
confinement amount to cruel and unusual punishment. A federal
magistrate recommended in March that their suit go forward.
A third inmate, Robert King Wilkerson, was also held for years in solitary
confinement. Wilkerson, who was convicted of killing another inmate
during a 1973 prison brawl, claimed he was locked up because he had
tried to give another prisoner legal assistance.
Wilkerson was freed in February 2001 after a state judge overturned his
conviction and he pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy.
All three landed in Angola in the late 1960s for unrelated armed robberies.
They met and formed a prison chapter of the Black Panthers, a militant
Angola officials have defended the long-term confinement of the Wallace,
Wilkerson and Woodfox, the so-called Angola Three, saying they were
proven dangerous to staff members and other prisoners. Officials have said
they are confined in conditions similar to death-row inmates, except they
have more privileges.
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