Reprinted from Truthdig
On his KCRW show "Scheer Intelligence," Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer spoke with Gary Tyler, who served over 40 years in prison after being wrongly convicted as a teenager of murdering a 13-year-old boy in 1974.
After being on death row twice during his sentence, Tyler was finally freed this spring. Before his release, he directed a passion play cast only with prisoners from Angola penitentiary in Louisiana, where he was incarcerated. The experience was made into the documentary "Cast the First Stone."
Tyler tells Scheer how the play forever changed him and the cast of prisoners, how he maintained hope over the years that he would eventually gain his freedom, and how a group of seasoned inmates helped him survive in prison.
--Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly
Robert Scheer: Hello, it's Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, my weekly podcast with KCRW. The intelligence comes from our guests and today our guest is Gary Tyler, a remarkable person who got swept up in a series of events when he was 16 years old. Attempt to integrate schools in Louisiana and the viscous white resistance to it and in the process of a turmoil one such day, a young man was shot and they hunted to see who did it and despite the available evidence, they picked on Gary Tyler, a 16 year old.
Tried as an adult, denied legal competence, this was all determined by courts later, and yet, was on death row for two years in Louisiana and through a series of court decisions invalidating -- the Supreme Court -- Invalidating the death penalty, he ended up serving life without possibility of parole.
However, this last April, was finally paroled after 41 and a half years in Angola Penitentiary, one of the largest and fearsome prisons in the United States, if not the world. Welcome, Gary Tyler. Let's begin with the 16 year old who's blamed and fingered for murder and convicted and looking at electrocution.