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These Men Lived To Be Released After Serving Some Of The Longest Prison Sentences Ever

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You do the crime, you do the time. That’s what they say. There are a lot of people who die in prison after serving long prison sentences. There are others who get paroled well before their sentence is up. Then there are some that get years added on for continuing to break laws while locked up.

Then there are the ones who end up serving their entire, long sentence and are let back out into the world after decades behind bars.

This list features criminals who served some of the longest sentences in history.

1. Eddie Collins

Eddie Collins received a 43 year sentence after being convicted of first degree murder. He was living in Tucson, Arizona at the time and he was just 21 years old.

He has always maintained that the situation was a bad one and he had deep regrets and remorse about it.

Eddie and his brother were out trying to score some drugs when they got into an argument with a man named Terry young. Eddie’s brother, Jonnie, pulled out a gun and shot him.

A lawyer with the Arizona Justice Project, Katherine Puzauskas, says Eddie didn’t realize his brother even had a gun on him when the crime occurred, and he wasn’t the one to pull the trigger. He shouldn’t have had to spend this much time locked away. Especially when his brother, who was the actual killer, took a plea deal and served just 10 years.

Eddie missed a change in the code that would have given him the possibility of parole after 25 years by just two months.

At the time of his release, he was 64 years old. He has a large extended family that helped him acclimate to life in a modern world that didn’t exist when he was a young man.

H/T – Source

2. Otis Johnson

Otis Johnson entered prison at the age of 25 years old. He was found guilty of attempting to murder a police officer and sentenced to 44 years. He has always maintained his innocence.

He lost contact with all of his family while he was in prison, so going out into the real world was a daunting prospect for an old man who knew nothing of the way things are today.

He was turned loose with two bus tickets, his old identification card, and $40. At his age, 69 years old, how will he support himself?

These days he resides in a halfway house and volunteers at a soup kitchen.

H/T – Source

3. John Franzese

John Franzese was given a sentence of 50 years in prison for his crimes as a mobster underboss. At his release in June of 2018, he was 100 years old. The oldest prisoner in America. He was actually in and out of prison during this time, due to parole violations. 2017 marked the end of the 50 year original sentence.

He has bragged about murdering over 60 people while he was working for the Colombo crime family.

Now that he is an old man, hopefully he will stay away from all crime, organized or not, and live the rest of his days in peace.

H/T – Source

4. Harvey Stewart

In 1951, Harvey Stewart started his first stint in prison. Ten years for a robbery he commuted. Six years into the sentence, he was paroled.

In 1958, he was convicted of murder and sent to prison for life. He admitted to shooting James Laird in the chest with Laird’s own gun, but he says it was in self defense.

He makes no excuses for any of his other crimes, which includes a long list of mostly robberies. He actually talks about all of the brothels he robbed on and around Houston back in 40s and 50s.

In 1965, he escaped for a few days before being recaptured. He also made a couple of other attempts at escape through the years, to no avail.

In 1984, he was paroled and spent two years washing dishes at a halfway house. But he was locked up again in 1986 for breaking parole by plotting to commit a robbery.

When he was released from prison in 2011, he was 83 years old. Even though he was a free man, they had to wait until they could find him a room in a halfway house or nursing home to let him go. He’d outlived the majority of his family and hadn’t had any visitors during his last decade, if not two, as a prisoner.

He now spends his days confined to the Rusk Nursing home. He actually wanted his case for murder revisited, as he thinks the jury was unfair.

H/T – Source

5. Hugh Alderman

High Alderman was just a young man of 23 years old when he was convicted of several murders, and robbery, and given a life sentence.

In 1916, Hugh and 3 other men, referred to as the ‘Rice Gang’ robbed a bank in Homestead, Florida. The men went on the run following their $6,500 payday and ended up hiding out in the Everglades.

Two weeks later, they were apprehended and a brawl ended up leaving two members of the ‘gang’ dead, along with two law enforcement officers.

Alderman and the other remaining member of the foursome were sentenced to life in prison for their crimes beginning in 1917.

Hugh escaped a few times before he was remanded permanently to a mental hospital in 1927.

He was there until his death in 1983 when he was 86 years old.

H/T – Source

6. Charles Edret Ford

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Charles Edret Ford claims innocence when it comes to the murder he was convicted of in the 1950s when he was just 20 years old.

He admits to second degree assault that took place while on furlough from the first sentence in 1975.

His jury during the murder trial was all white, and a witness actually pointed to another man in the courtroom when asked to identify the killer.

The judge said Ford resembled him enough for conviction.

He spent 64 years behind bars. A judge recently gave him 5 years suspended and two years of probation for the assault charge from 1975. He was 86 when he was released to a nursing home to live out the rest of his days.

He has met his great niece and says that’s his family now.

H/T – Source

7. Howard Christensen

Howard Christensen was 16 years old when he and another boy were hitchhiking, and killed a teacher while robbing her.

The initial sentence was for life without parole, but it was later changed to 200 years.

The other boy ended up hanging himself in prison several years later.

Howard was a difficult inmate, often harassing other prisoners and visitors. He sometimes refused to bathe or even change clothes. He was subjected to shock therapy at times because of his bad behavior. A frontal lobotomy was even considered at one point.

In 1995, the warden wanted him released after spending years either in prison or in mental wards. They had a hard time finding a spot for him due to his mental state and generally foul moods. He spent the last several years of his time locked up in a ward for mentally disturbed prisoners.

He was finally released in 2001, after 64 years behind bars. He passed away in 2003.

H/T – Source

8. Richard Honeck

Richard Honeck began his life sentence in prison when he was 22 years old. He was found guilty of the murder of one of his former classmates.

He entered prison in November of 1899. He was paroled on December 29, 1963. 64 years and one month served. A lifetime.

In Joliet Prison, where he spent the first several years of his sentence, he was put in solitary confinement for three weeks, and placed on a ball and chain for 6 months after he stabbed a guard in 1912.

He was later transferred to Menard Correctional Center and kept his nose clean there. He spent 35 years working in the prison bakery.

During his entire incarceration, he received only one letter, and two visitors. The second being a newspaper reporter in 1963.

He was released at the age of 85, and died 12 years later, in 1976.

H/T – Source

9. Johnson Van Dyke Grigsby

Johnson Van Dyke Grigsby was convicted of murder in 1908. He remained in custody until his release in 1974.

He stabbed a man to death after an argument occurred at a poker game.

During 50 years of his sentence, he was remanded to the ward for insane inmates. Finally, a doctor determined that he was not crazy, after all that time.

When he was released, he was 89 years old. When he couldn’t find any way to make money, he checked back into prison for another two years. In 1976, he left prison once again and lived 11 more years. He passed away at the age of 101.

H/T – Source

10. Paul Geidel Jr.

Paul Geidel Jr. was convicted of murder in the second degree in 1911, when he was 17 years old.

Geidel was first imprisoned at Sing Sing Prison. Good behavior found him eligible for a parole hearing, however, he was found to be insane after an exam in 1926.

After that, he was transferred to a hospital for the criminally insane, which was run by the state of New York, and he was in this facility until 1972.

Later, he was placed in the Fishkill Correctional Facility. Geidel lived in quarters that were specifically for elderly inmates. It was more like a dormitory, instead of prison.

Over the years, Geidel developed a rapport with the guards and officials, and they would sometimes take him on outings, like to a baseball game.

He was paroled in August of 1974. Being 80-years-old, he wanted to stay. He had lived as an inmate for 63 years, which was his entire adult life. He had no family. He wasn’t confident that he could live outside of prison. He turned down the parole and decided to stay locked up for nearly six more years.

At 86, he finally left after having spent 68 years in prison. He passed away in a nursing home 7 years later, at 93 years old.

H/T – Source

Adverisement


Written by Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson is a former Army brat who resides in southern Alabama. She is married to her wonderful husband, Brian, and has four children; Justin, Nicolas, Molly, and Lucas. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and going to concerts. She also loves spending time at the beach and hopes to retire there someday.

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