Joseph Ligon, 79, has been in prison for 63 years for the murders of two people in 1953. He was 15 at the time. It would seem he would jump at the chance to be paroled when he was offered it at the beginning of the year. However, that is not the case. Ligon has rejected the parole offered to him, claiming that he should have never been locked up in the first place.
Ligon was charged with the stabbing deaths of Charles Pitts and Jackson Hamm along with five other youths back in the day. According to Blasome:
The deaths were the result of a gang brawl. Developmentally disabled, he admitted he had been part of the melee, but did not stab the two youths who were killed, and he has maintained his innocence throughout his ordeal.
All of the other defendants in the case have either passed away or have been released from prison already.
In 2010, Ligon spoke with local papers about his life behind bars, saying “I’ve been able to deal with this situation because, in my mind and in my heart, I didn’t kill somebody. If I had, that would have worried me to death. There’s no way I could have done that and survived in here.”
The parole offer came after the US Supreme Court ruled that locking juveniles up for life was unconstitutional and that they should be presented with the opportunity of parole. Around 300 prisoners in Pennsylvania are eligible for resentencing under these new guidelines, but Ligon and three others have refused the agreement that would make them eligible for parole.
According to Bradley Bridge of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, “His view is, he’s been in long enough. He doesn’t want to be on probation or parole. He just wants to be released.”
We’ll keep you posted as developments come forward.