(NEW ORLEANS) — A Louisiana man freed from jail less than a week ago after 41 years in solitary confinement has died, according to his attorney and a close friend.
Herman Wallace, 71, died early Friday morning in New Orleans at the home of close friend and program director at Tulane’s School of Medicine Ashley Wennerstrom.
“He was surrounded by a whole lot of friends and family in the last few days of his life,” Wennerstrom told ABC News. “He was definitely aware that he was no longer incarcerated and he was happy to be free.”
On Tuesday Wallace was taken from a correctional facility to a New Orleans hospital for treatment of advanced liver cancer. Wallace, who was serving time for an armed robbery conviction, was one of three inmates who were convicted in the 1974 slaying of a prison guard.
The men became known as the “Angola 3” and were moved to solitary confinement, where Wallace spent more than four decades until a federal judge overturned his conviction on Tuesday and ordered his immediate release.
Wennerstrom said that Wallace was “relatively alert” in the last few days and recognized all of the people who visited him.
U.S. District Chief Judge Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge ordered a new trial in the case because he said women were unconstitutionally excluded from the grand jury that indicted Wallace in the stabbing death of the guard, which “violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of ‘the equal protection of the laws.’….thereby rendering his conviction and resulting sentence unconstitutional.”
“Herman Wallace has been afforded some measure of justice after a lifetime of injustice,” his attorneys said in a statement.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eugene Scott, CNN
Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Wayne Drash and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN
Aria Hangyu Chen, Special to CNN