Local News

Inmate talks about release ruling, going free

Posted October 20, 2009
Updated November 8, 2009

— Manley Porter, 61, was supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping a woman while robbing a Winston-Salem convenience store. But because of a loophole in North Carolina law, he and 19 other violent criminals will be released next week.

"They just called me to the office and told me I was supposed to be getting out," Porter told WFMY-TV.

Legal loophole to set convicted rapist free Legal loophole to set convicted rapist free

The inmates are scheduled to be released Oct. 29 because state courts agreed with double murderer Bobby Bowden that a 1970s law defined a life sentence as 80 years. The 1981 Fair Sentencing Act included a retroactive provision that essentially cut all those sentences in half, and good behavior and other credits have shortened the sentences to the point that they are now complete.

Porter committed his crime in 1976, when the law defined a life term as 80 years.

The retroactive sentencing provision cut his time in half. With good behavior cutting nearly seven additional years off his sentence, he is eligible to be released next week.

Porter said Tuesday that he has turned his life around. He also expressed regret over the rape.

"I am deeply, deeply, deeply sorry for that," he said.

Seven of the inmates set for release were once on death row. All but one of them have been convicted of murder or rape.

"The potential is there for a lot of danger," U.S. Attorney George Holding said.

Holding is among those looking for legal avenues to keep the prisoners in custody.

"We are reviewing all the files to see if there are any prosecutable federal offenses," he said.

Longtime defense attorney Joe Cheshire said that according to the law, the inmates have done their time.

"It is unbelievable," he said. "You can't go around ignoring the law and that is what they are trying to do."

Porter has taken self-improvement classes while in jail. He also volunteers at churches as part of a pre-release program.

He has to register as a sex offender upon release, but says he can be trusted not to commit another crime

"I feel like they can (trust me). I do not have urges to try anything like that," he said.

The state Correction Department estimates about 100 more prisoners could be released in the coming months.

The Department of Correction is attempting to notify victims of the crimes involved. Victims who have not been contacted are asked to call the DOC Office of Victim Services at 1-866-719-0108.

81 Comments

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  • nccowbo Oct 22, 3:13 p.m.

    Bev, you breaking the law is not the way to go. To me it shows your more then able now to commit a crime on what you feel is right and not what the law requires. I'm not with these people being released, BUT it is the law and we all have to follow it. I may not like a law but I have to follow it. AND YOU HAVE TO DO THE SAME, ITS THE LAW SO BUCKLE UP AND DEAL WITH IT.

  • Tax Man Oct 21, 4:59 p.m.

    "The Department of Correction is attempting to notify victims of these crimes. Victims who have not been contacted are asked to call the DOC Office of Victim Services at 1-866-719-0108."

    We are ALL victims of this crime the state is about to commit. I suggest we all call DOC at 866-719-0108 and request that they keep us informed on a daily basis of where these murderers and rapists are living, working and committing more felonies. They retroactively applied a law to reduce the sentences, so why can't the legislature retroactively unapply the reduction and keep them in for LIFE? Well, I have my CCW so if any come by to visit me consider it Time Served!

  • Professor Oct 21, 3:56 p.m.

    you put them in your spare bedroom and feed them. I wonder if your tune will change then?
    chayer

    Don't have a spare romm, but the prisoners that are released will be OK. They are going to be released regardless what you think. Except that fact and move on. Nothing you say or do will change it. Bother them and you will be in prison. lol lol

  • Professor Oct 21, 3:55 p.m.

    That the defense lawyer used the wording or lack there of as a "Loophole" to release these criminals.
    LambeauSouth

    "Pat on the back" - you are so brilliant at least you think so. lol lol lol No matter what you think or do or read, the prisoners will be freed. Anything more?

  • LambeauSouth Oct 21, 3:49 p.m.

    It is a Loophole as defined by Webster's if you use the "Wording of the law to bypass said law, Fact is the Fair Sentencing Law 1981 was established to reduce prison population intended for the lesser non-violent crimes. The fact that they did not spell out that the exclusions to this law would be in the case of Murder , Rape or any other deemed heinois crime.
    That the defense lawyer used the wording or lack there of as a "Loophole" to release these criminals.

  • Just Concerned Oct 21, 3:31 p.m.

    Hmmm...to all of you who think these darlins' should go free, even after continued violent behavior while incarcerated, you put them in your spare bedroom and feed them. I wonder if your tune will change then?

  • Coach K is still GREAT Oct 21, 3:28 p.m.

    Not really a loophole that some wants to call it. NC leaders made the law and now certain prisoners will be released Oct. 29. They are now reaping what they sow. To think at the time they all thought it was right and a good thing. How wrong they were. Hopefully the NC leaders will learn from this and never make this kind of mistake ever again.
    Professor
    October 21, 2009 3:24 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse

    BRAVO Professor!!! I think this may be the first time you've posted something that I actually agree with!!! ;-)

  • Professor Oct 21, 3:24 p.m.

    Not really a loophole that some wants to call it. NC leaders made the law and now certain prisoners will be released Oct. 29. They are now reaping what they sow. To think at the time they all thought it was right and a good thing. How wrong they were. Hopefully the NC leaders will learn from this and never make this kind of mistake ever again.

  • NCAries Oct 21, 3:10 p.m.

    Keep up the good work.
    cam7002

    Excellent post...

  • NCAries Oct 21, 3:06 p.m.

    People that are charged with rape and murder (whether correctly or incorrectly)usually go through this little process call a trial by jury...
    cj1979

    And sometimes the jury gets it wrong....

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