NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After almost 42 years at Louisiana's maximum security prison, Gary Tyler is a free man.

Tyler had been jailed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola since he was 16, convicted of first-degree murder for the 1974 slaying of a fellow Destrehan High School student amid rising racial tensions surrounding school integration. Now 57, he was released Friday.

Norris Henderson, a counselor helping ease Tyler's re-entry into society, says Tyler's first reaction after walking out of Angola was relief.

Gary Tyler (democracynow.org)

Tyler's life sentence was recently declared unconstitutional. The St. Charles Parish district attorney's office agreed to vacate Tyler's conviction and Tyler agreed to enter a guilty plea to manslaughter and receive the maximum sentence of 21 years. Since he had served more than twice that, he was released about 4:45 p.m.

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