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 (

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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