Awarding winning prison journalist WIlbert Rideau was freed from prison after serving 44 years for a 1961 murder near Lake Charles, LA. Rideau, shown here at the Louisiana State Penitentary at Angola in April 1995, was tried and convicted three times on capital murder charges. However, he eventually had all three convictions thrown out. The last one, in 2000, when Rideau and his attorneys successfully argued that racial bias existed on the all-white juries that had convicted him three separate times. While in prison, Rideau founded "The Angolite," an awarding winning magazine at Angola. He lectured extensively and appeared frequently on television and in documentaries. He had a hand in the documentary film, "The Farm," about Angola and its inmates. Life Magazine called him "The most rehabilitated prisoner in America." On four separate occasions, he convinced the pardon board to commute his sentence, but no Louisiana governor would dare sign it. In his fourth trial, held earlier this month, a jury convicted him of manslaughter, which in 1961, carried a maximum sentence of 21 years. Rideau was released of time served.
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