SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — A Shreveport man walked free Friday after spending more than 20 years at the state penitentiary in Angola for stealing hedge clippers from a home in January 1997.
Fair Wayne Bryant, 63, was unanimously granted parole on Thursday by the Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole.
Bryant was 38 when he was arrested. The homeowner was alerted to the theft and chased Bryant off. That same year, a jury convicted him of attempted simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and Bryant, who had previous convictions, was sentenced to life in prison because he was considered a “habitual” offender under state law.
Robert Lancaster, the attorney for Fair Wayne Bryant, says Bryant is being assisted by the Louisiana Parole Project.
“The Louisiana Parole Project, which is a non-profit organization in Baton Rouge that assists folks who are paroled leaving prison after long sentences, picked him [Bryant] up at the gate and he’s living in their housing right now,” said Bryant.
“He’s getting their support and their services as he transitions back. They have an individualized program when they assess the individualized needs of those leaving prison. I can’t speak for the parole committee of course, but I do think the fact that they released him specifically to the Parole Project means that they found it important that he had those services in place upon his release, so that he’ll be successful.”
Bryant represented himself at all other parole hearings. When asked what changed the parole board’s mind, Lancaster says it may have been because of legal representation.
“I would like to think legal representation matters,” said Bryan.
“So he had legal representation. And that was through the LSU Parole and Reentry Clinic. That was the significant difference.”