Longest Serving Death Row Inmate In U.S. Resentenced To Life

This photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Raymond Riles. An appeals court has overturned the sentence of Texasâ   longest serving death row inmate, whose attorneys say has languished in prison for more than 45 years because he's too mentally ill to be executed. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

Longest Serving Death Row Inmate In U.S. Resentenced To Life

Raymond Riles has spent over 45 years behind bars.

PUBLISHED ON : JUNE 11, 2021 / 12:33 PM

Written by BET Staff

Raymond Riles has been on death row since 1974 but he has now been sentenced to life in prison. 

According to the Associated Press, Riley, 71, will not be executed by the state of Texas after prosecutors concluded he was “ineligible for execution and incompetent for retrial due to his long history of mental illness.”

Riles also has heart disease and is recovering from prostate cancer. 

Raymond Riles is the country’s longest serving death row prisoner for the 1974 shooting of John Thomas Henry, which was supposedly over a car. 

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Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement, “We will never forget John Henry, who was murdered so many years ago by Riles, and we believe justice would best be served by Riles spending the remainder of his life in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.”

Riles’ new sentence means he is up for parole, but Henry’s family will fight against his release, according to the Associated Press

Jim Marcus, one of Riles’ attorneys, said in a statement, “Mr. Riles is in very poor health but, if the Board of Pardons and Paroles sees fit to grant parole, he has family with the capacity to care for him.”

(Photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

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