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Escaped Killer and Poet Is Sentenced

Norman Porter lived a new life in Chicago for 20 years. He'll be eligible for parole in about four.

October 15, 2005|From Associated Press

DEDHAM, Mass. — A twice-convicted killer who fled a life sentence 20 years ago and became a law-abiding poet in Chicago pleaded guilty Friday to an escape charge and was sentenced to three additional years in prison.

Judge Isaac Borenstein took the unusual step of telling Norman Porter his recommended sentence before Porter entered a plea. The judge then called a recess to give the former fugitive a chance to decide whether to plead guilty and accept the sentence or go to trial.

The new sentence will begin after Porter completes a life sentence for the 1960s murder of a store clerk. Porter also was convicted in the second-degree murder of a jail master, David S. Robinson, but that sentence was commuted.

Porter is eligible for parole in about four years, said his lawyer, Gordon Walker.

Porter fled to Chicago in 1985 and assumed the name Jacob "J.J." Jameson. He became known as a community activist, poet and war protester. Now 65, he was arrested in Chicago in March after Massachusetts authorities received a tip on his whereabouts.

While in prison, Porter earned his high school diploma and college degree. He started a prison radio station and newspaper, and in 1975, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis commuted his sentence in the Robinson case.

Ten years later, after a failed bid to have his second sentence commuted, Porter walked away from a pre-release center and went to Chicago, where he assumed the new identity.

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