Recently, Earl Rice Jr., an inmate at Graterford Prison, got unexpected news from a relative: A judge had unceremoniously changed his sentence from life without parole to life with parole. Chester County Court Judge James MacElree later explained: “That’s what the Supreme Court of the United States said I had to do.
HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. – They met halfway between their heartaches, in a bar by a river near the Chesapeake Bay, two fathers and a mother bound together by death but determined to rise above it.
It would be wrong to say Aquil Bickerstaff was destined to end up dead or in prison. But like all black men of his generation, the odds were stacked against him. When he was born in 1985, to a working-class family in North Philadelphia, he entered a world that was becoming increasingly hostile to him.
Charles Thornton was a popular point guard at H.D. Woodson Senior High School, a nine-story concrete building in northeast Washington, D.C., which soon after opening acquired the nickname “Tower of Power.” It was the late 1970s, and this quick-moving kid who played for the youngest school in the District was ranked as an All-Metropolitan player, and among the top 100 in the country.