LA Denies Parole to Man, 71, in Juvenile Crime Case

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Louisiana’s parole board on Monday denied freedom to 71-year-old Henry Montgomery, a Baton Rouge man convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy whose case was central in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that juvenile offenders be given a chance at release, The Advocate reports. A three-member panel of the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole voted 2-1 to deny parole to Montgomery, who is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the 1963 shooting. “In 54 years of incarceration, all you’ve taken were two classes,” board member Kenneth Loftin told Montgomery, before voting against parole. “You’re only doing exactly what you can to get by.”

Loftin and Chairman James Kuhn, who also voted to deny parole, cited the lack of classes in their explanations on why Montgomery, who was 17 at the time he fatally shot deputy Charles Hurt, should stay in prison. Montgomery’s lawyer, Keith Nordyke, said looking only at classes is short-sighted and unfair. For Montgomery’s first 30 years of incarceration, classes were not available to inmates serving a life sentence, Nordyke said. Once they were an option, Montgomery was deemed incapable of completing his GED, so he focused on job training. He worked at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola’s silk-screen shop for 20 years, where he was employee of the month eight times. The two courses he did complete were required to become eligible for parole, classes Nordyke said Montgomery had to complete as an older man after working a full day. “He pretty much did all he could do. … But that’s not good enough,” Nordyke said after the hearing. The decision brought relief to Linda Hurt Wood, one of Hurt’s daughters. “It’s a victory for my father,” she said, calling the shooting “senseless.”

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