Inmate granted parole 57 years after juvenile life sentence

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — At the age of 75, Henry Montgomery is a free man. This was his third time going before a parole board.

Deputy Director of the Louisiana Parole Project Kerry Myers said his release is long overdue. 

“He committed a serious crime when he was a child, we have a lot of empathy for victims in every case but 57 years, he is not the same person,” said Myers.

In 1963, Montgomery was convicted of killing an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy at the age of 17. Years later his case would create a pathway for juveniles sentenced to life to someday see parole, like Ivy Mathis, who went to prison at the age of 17 years old.

“I was released December the 11th, 2018,” said Mathis.

A day after the anniversary of her own hearing date, Mathis said she’s felt the guilt of benefitting from the life of a man who had not been freed yet, but today is a new day. 

“I believe that redemption is possible, and I believe that everyone is redeemable,” said Mathis. ” I couldn’t help but cry. It took me back to the day I was actually in my hearing, and to know the pressure that I was feeling then, that this is my time, I’m right at the brink of the door opening, and will it actually open?”

Montgomery will be released to the Louisiana Parole Project and placed in a redemption home where he’ll have help transitioning into a world he may not understand.

“Technology, simple use of a cell phone, is sometimes overwhelming to them. Banking and finance, retirement employment opportunities, the simple things that everyone takes for granted today. We don’t judge success by bringing people home, we judge success by the quality of life they live when they do come home,” said Myers.  

The unanimous decision was met with opposition by the deputy’s family.

“My father was a deputy, I think it shows great disrespect to all officers for him to be released and back into society. What officer would want to put his badge on every morning knowing that he’s not going to be backed up if something happens to him or his family?” asked Linda Wood, the victim’s daughter.

Board members agreed that Montgomery is low-risk and deserves to live out the rest of his life outside of prison. 

“I’m going to have to live with this all my life, the rest of my life,” said Montgomery.  

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