Former Norfolk death row inmate granted parole

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia death row inmate who had his sentence commuted to life in prison more than two decades ago has been granted parole.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Virginia State Parole Board on Monday approved Joseph Giarratano for release.

Board chairwoman Adrianne Bennett says it may take a month before Giarratano, one of the state's best-known inmates, is freed.

Giarratano was convicted of the 1979 rape and capital murder of 15-year-old Michelle Kline and the murder of her mother, 44-year-old Toni Kline, in Norfolk.

In 1991, two days before his scheduled execution, Gov. L. Douglas Wilder commuted his sentence after questions were raised about his guilt.

Gerald Zerkin, who was Giarratano's lawyer when Wilder commuted the death sentence, called the decision "fantastic news."

Members of the victims' family couldn't be reached by the newspaper for comment.

© 2017 Associated Press


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