Woodfox suffers from heart disease, renal failure and hepatitis C, his attorneys said.
Woodfox has served more time in solitary confinement than any other prisoner in the US, mostly at a Louisiana penitentiary nicknamed Angola after the slave plantation grounds on which it stands. He has always maintained his innocence in the 1972 stabbing death of guard Brent Miller, and accused the state of persecuting him out of a mix of racism, politics and his willingness to speak out against prison abuses.
Herman Wallace, with whom Woodfox was originally accused, was released in 2013 after a judge vacated his conviction and sentence. He died two days later, from cancer.
Robert King, who was not charged with the murder, was released in 2001 after 29 years mostly in solitary confinement.
Miller’s widow said on Thursday: “I think it’s time for the state to stop acting like there is any evidence that Albert Woodfox killed Brent.
The anticipation of what would have been a historic day for Albert Woodfox ended just after noon Friday as the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the last jailed Angola 3 inmate to remain behind bars pending a review of the murder case responsible for his more than four-decade incarceration.
The past week’s back and forth between judges is just the most recent chapter in a case that has divided the courts since the 1970s as convictions have been handed down, then overturned and retried.
Even the siblings and the widow of the victim can’t agree on what to do with Woodfox.
Several family members of slain Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola guard Brent Miller — whom Woodfox is accused of killing in 1972 — along with several journalists and prison personnel had gathered Friday outside the West Feliciana Parish Detention Center, where Woodfox is being held.
Miller’s sister Wanda Callender said, “Praise God,” after hearing of the decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit to keep Woodfox in jail while the court considers whether he can be retried.
Louisiana has delayed the release of former Black Panther Albert Woodfox, the longest-serving U.S. prisoner in solitary confinement, after appealing a judge’s order for his freedom. Earlier this year a Louisiana grand jury re-indicted Woodfox for the 1972 murder of a prison guard, a crime for which he and his late, fellow Angola 3 member Herman Wallace maintained they were framed for their political activism. Wallace died on October 1, 2013 just three days after he was released from prison. On Monday, Federal Judge James Brady not only called for Woodfox’s release, but also barred a retrial. Woodfox’s two previous convictions in the case were both overturned. But on Tuesday, Louisiana filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit, and that court issued a stay on Judge Brady’s order until 1pm this Friday. Woodfox’s lawyers have until 5pm today to file a response. We are joined by Woodfox’s attorney, George Kendall, as well as the Angola 3’s Robert King, who spent 29 years in solitary confinement.