Today I’m going to bury the lead.
Tom Henry’s parole hearing at Menard, where he is incarcerated, was on March 20. The day before, March 19, his two Chicago pro se attorneys, Susan Ritacca and Sara Garber, visited him to strategize the plans—half-way house, permanent residence, more details—before a hoped-for granting of parole.
In his letter telling me of it, Henry asked me not to publicize it here on my website or in fb this year. His reasoning was I’ve done so every time before and each year he’s been rejected. I acquiesced. That’s why you’re not reading about it until today and why I didn’t advise you ahead of yesterday’s April 25 PRB (Prisoner Review Board) hearing in Springfield, IL.
The vote last year, if you recall, was 6 to 5 in Henry’s favor, but since they count members not attending as no votes, he was denied parole. It seemed so wrong! Will this year be more of the same sad story?
I got a phone call at home last evening from Henry’s sister, Gloria. I haven’t talked to her for months. What she was calling about was to say—and here’s the lead I so blatantly buried: “Henry got parole! It was unanimous! Pass it on!”
He’s now 71 years old. Almost exactly half of those years have been spent behind bars! He was 22 when he committed murder. He escaped and survived 13 years as a fugitive. So, 22 + 13 = 35. He was recaptured and has spent that same number of years incarcerated. So, if he survives just a few months of freedom, his free days will begin to outnumber his caged nights.
Congratulations, Tom Henry! May your last decades be happy! You did wrong, you’ve paid the price, and I, along with many others, wish you the best.
If you haven’t read it, check out my book Tom Henry: Confession of a Killer, still available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. In the book—and on the back cover—Tom Henry tells me, early in our acquaintance in prison, “Be careful what you wish for, Hendricks. When I was a child, I wanted bunk beds.” Well, my friend, enjoy your new wider, softer, single-mattress bed!