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Black man sentenced to 1,823 years in prison to be released

Lawrence Stephens is a Virginia resident who was sentenced to 1,823 years in prison for a home invasion and robbery in 2001.

He is now getting a pardon from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.


Stephens was a homeless man working two jobs when he was talked into breaking into a home with another co-worker. The man who told the two to go into the home was a white co-worker and never entered the home. He received a 10-year sentence, and Derrick Nolan, the other Black co-worker, received 35 years. Stephens was the only one that received a life sentence.

“I deserved to be punished for the crime that I committed,” Stephens said in an interview from the prison. “It felt like for me to spend the rest of my life in prison for a crime that I committed, no one was seriously injured or killed — I just thought the sentence was excessive.”


It was said that the judge that sentenced Stephens had a prior history of giving harsh sentences to Black people. The attorney that represented Stephens was eventually found guilty of failing to properly represent his client.

Stephens is set to be free between 30 – 60 days.

 

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