Charles Friedgood, New York’s oldest prisoner at n 89-year-old has been granted parole. The former heart surgeon was convicted of killing his wife more than 30 years ago and was serving a 25-years-to-life sentence.
He was convicted in 1976 of injecting his wife, Sophie, with a fatal dose of the painkiller Demerol the year before. He was arrested at Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to flee the country with more than $450,000 in cash, securities and valuables from his wife’s estate.
Friedgood, who has terminal cancer, had been denied parole five times, most recently last month. But the Division of Parole, in an unusual move, ordered a new hearing, citing a pending court case regarding Friedgood’s denial of parole in 2005. The board that paroled him was not the same one that rejected his plea for release in October.
Board members who voted to release him cited his good prison record and support from some family members and the prosecuting attorney. The dissenting board member, Chris Ortloff, said the deadly injection was especially heinous because Friedgood was a doctor sworn to save lives.
Friedgood is one of the fasting growing segments of the prison population: older prisoners. These prisonsers cost two to three times the cost of younger prisoners to hold. They also represent a fraction of the risk of recidivism, which greatly reflects a drop in risk with age. New York is one of the states with the largest populations of older and geriatric prisoners.
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