Judge Frees Prisoner After Ruling Sentence Harsh

A prisoner who served 27 years in prison for stealing 173 dollars during an armed robbery nearly three decades ago has been released after a judge gave him a new, shorter sentence and declared he had more than served his time.

Raymond Lee Parker was sentenced in 1980 to 40 years to life for robbery with a dangerous weapon for taking the money from a woman at a bakery. If sentenced today, he would face no more than 13 years and eight months in prison.

Parker had been eligible for parole the past 17 years, but was turned down each year.

His lawyer finally asked Durham County Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to invalidate his original sentence. Hudson agreed, despite objections from District Attorney Mike Nifong that such action would clog the courts with inmates seeking new sentences.