A man who has been imprisoned for 68 years has finally been released – after refusing to apply for parole.
Joseph Ligon, 83, was originally sentenced to life imprisonment in 1953 after taking part in a spree of robberies and assaults in Philadelphia, the US, which left two people dead.
Mr Ligon, 15 at the time, has long insisted that he did not kill anyone – and became the country’s longest-serving juvenile inmate.
His sentence was reduced to 25 years to life in 2017, after the Supreme Court ruled that life sentences for juveniles amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
However, Mr Ligon did not apply for parole after the ruling.
He told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “I like to be free. With parole, you got to see the parole people every so often.
“You can’t leave the city without permission from parole. That’s part of freedom for me.”
Mr Ligon’s lawyer Bradley Bridge pleaded for his client’s release at a federal court, and eventually won last November.
He argued in court: “The constitution requires that the entire sentence, both the minimum and maximum terms imposed on a juvenile, be individualised — and a one size fits all cannot pass constitutional muster.
Mr Ligon was released from the State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County on Thursday, February 11.
He said “that was no sad day for me” but wishes his mum, dad and brother could have joined him.
Discussing how Philadelphia had changed, Mr Ligon added: “I’m looking at all the tall buildings. This is all new to me. This never existed.”
The Eastern State Penitentiary, where he was once jailed, has since been turned into a museum and Halloween attraction.
Mr Ligon said “that don’t suit my tastes” and refused to be included as an exhibit, saying it would create the wrong impression that “I’m such a dangerous man”.
Earlier this month, imprisoned House of Horrors monster Rose West was reportedly given the Covid vaccine ahead of frontline staff.
The 67-year-old serial killer was given it after being deemed “extremely vulnerable”, a source told The Sun.
She was said to be included in the roll-out to those shielding ahead of frontline staff at HMP New Hall and millions of Brits.
A government spokesman said: “Prisoners are being vaccinated at the same time as the general public and in line with the priority groups set out by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”