In Louisiana in 1974, at the age of 16, Gary Tyler was sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. He was arrested for allegedly shooting a white boy during racially-charged protests over school integration in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Convicted and sentenced to die by an all-white jury, he was, at the time, the youngest person on death row in the United States, and spent eight years in solitary confinement.
Gary’s conviction was overturned and he was released on April 29, 2016, after serving almost 42 years in prison.
Gary now lives in Southern California. He is a great friend to DPF, talking to community groups and https://www.truthdig.com/articles/former-death-row-inmate-gary-tyler-carries-on-rfks-ripple-of-hope-ideal/ students about his life and how he not only survived, but did so with his sanity intact. Gary’s impact on the people he meets can’t be overstated. A soft-spoken, gentle man, he isn’t bitter or angry over the breathtaking injustice done to him. He lost 42 years of his life, but he is determined to spend the rest of his years contributing to the society that wronged him.
You can read more about Gary and the triumph that is his life in the most recent issue of “truthdig.” In these dark days, knowing that people like Gary are out there makes things seem just a little brighter.