Nation & World

Angola inmate released in plea deal after serving nearly 42 years for racially charged killing


Gary Tyler in an undated photograph provided by his defense team.
Gary Tyler in an undated photograph provided by his defense team.

A man who was once the nation’s youngest death row inmate was released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola on Friday as a result of a plea deal with the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, ending a legal saga over the 1974 killing of a teenager during a race riot in Destrehan.

Lawyers for Gary Tyler, who has spent nearly 42 of his 57 years in prison, said he was released after pleading guilty to manslaughter Friday in the death of 13-year-old Timothy Weber, a bystander who was shot outside Destrehan High School during a confrontation between white and black students over integration.

In return for the guilty plea, District Attorney Joel Chaisson agreed to vacate Tyler’s conviction on first-degree murder. Tyler was released immediately because at the time of his arrest, the maximum term for manslaughter was 21 years.

“I want to express to the Weber family that I am truly sorry for their loss and pain. I accept responsibility for my role in this,” Tyler said in court, according to a statement released by his legal team. “I ask for prayers for the Weber family and for my family, and for healing in the days and weeks to come.”

To read more of this story, visit the New Orleans Advocate.