Herman Wallace RIP: the Black Panther tortured by the US for 41 years
MAYBE Herman Wallace can find peace in death. The Black Panther fighter who spent 41 of his 71 years in solitary confinement in a US prison has died. For more than four decades he lived in a cell measuring 2m by 3m. Alone.
Three days before his death, the US freed him from the Louisiana State Penitentiary. And then the liver cancer got him. He died at a home in New Orleans.
Tessa Murphy spoke for many:
“No one should have to endure 40-plus years in solitary confinement… It’s some small consolation that [Mr Wallace] died a free man after the conviction was finally overturned.”
Mr Wallace was serving a 50-year sentence for armed robbery when in 1972 he, Robert Hillary King and Albert Woodfox were accused of killing prison guard, Brent Miller.
In 1974, the “angola Three” were found guilty of murder. And then just before Wallace’s death federal judge Judge Brian Jackson ruled that that murder conviction violated the dying man’s right to a fair trial. No women had been on the jury – and that was unfair and wrong. One of the eyewitnesses was legally blind.
He said he never did stab the man to death. He said the authorities were out to get him, the man who had set up a Black Panther body inside the prison. DNA evidence that lawyers said could have exonerated him was “lost” by prosecutors.
Mr. King was released from prison in 2001; Mr. Woodfox is still in prison in Louisiana.