Local News

Commission Considers Parole Request For Man Serving Life For TV Theft

Posted December 3, 2003

— Freedom may be one step closer for a man serving life in prison for stealing a television set in Johnston County 33 years ago.

Junior Allen has served 33 years in North Carolina prisons for a second-degree burglary conviction in 1970.

After 25 years of denials, the state Parole Commission is the process of deciding whether this is the year for Allen to go home.

Tuesday, Allen's family, his lawyer, and a prosecutor went to bat for him before the North Carolina Parole Commission.

"I would like to see him home as soon as possible, God willing," said Faye Bell-Allen, Allen's sister.

"I think it's time for him to be released," attorney Rich Rosen said. "I can't think of any reason in the world for him to stay in prison any longer, for the North Carolina taxpayer to spend another $30,000. So, I will be surprised if his parole is not ordered."

Mike Beam, a Johnston County prosecutor, works for the same county that put Allen behind bars.

"It's our hope, and I know it's the family's hope, that he's released and he's allowed to live out his remaining years with some family members he's never met," Beam said.

Allen's attorney says a decision could come in the next two weeks.

Allen said he remains skeptical.

"They build you up so high, and stuff like that, then all at once -- whump," he said. "if I just know for sure that I was going to be out of here in a month, I don't know what I might do. I might just walk on my head for an hour."

The parole commission said Allen's behavior in prison and his many years in maximun security do not make him a likely candidate for parole. Allen is currently in a minimum security prison, and said he has not violated a prison rule in two years -- things the commission will consider when it makes its decision, which could come in the next few weeks.

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