At 15 Joe Ligon was joined a group of drunk teens on a robbery and assault spree that left two people dead and six others stabbed. Ligon pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, although he long claimed he didn’t take part in the murders but received a life sentence in 1953.
Last week, after being in prison for 68 years, the 83-year-old walked out of a Pennsylvania prison a free man, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Ligon sentence was reduced to 35 years to life in 2017, after the Supreme Court ruled the automatic life terms for kids are cruel and unusual. However, unlike fellow inmates who rushed to seek parole after that ruling, Ligon didn’t want to be on parole after he got out.
“I like to be free,” he told the newspaper. “With parole, you got to see the parole people every so often. You can’t leave the city without permission from parole. That’s part of freedom for me.”
Bradley Bridge, a lawyer who represented Ligon since 2006, fought for his outright release for three more years and won, with a judge ordering his release last November according to New York Post.
After Ligon was released he saw a transformed Philadelphia. “I’m looking at all the tall buildings,” he said. “This is all new to me. This never existed.”