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Man who shot, paralyzed Ala. governor to be freed

August 24, 2007|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Arthur Bremer, who attempted to assassinate Alabama Gov. George Wallace during his 1972 presidential campaign, is scheduled to walk out of the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Md., in December, after 35 years in prison.

Bremer, 57, has never publicly expressed remorse for the shooting that left Wallace paralyzed and in pain for the rest of his life.

Wallace's son said his family had forgiven him.

"I think God's law has been adhered to, and we're comfortable with that," George Wallace Jr. told the Press-Register of Mobile, Ala. "But having said that, I don't believe that given the suffering my father endured all those years from the gunshots and the constant paralysis -- I don't think Arthur Bremer's incarceration comes close to that type of suffering."

Bremer was a 21-year-old busboy from Milwaukee when he approached Wallace after a campaign stop before a boisterous crowd of about 2,000 in the suburban Laurel Shopping Center parking lot in Maryland.

Wallace, a prominent segregationist who had won three Democratic primaries and was expected to win in Maryland and Michigan, had just finished speaking when Bremer shot him with a .38 revolver at close range. An Alabama state trooper, a Secret Service agent and a Wallace campaign volunteer were also wounded.

From the day the bullets entered his chest and stomach -- one lodging near his spine -- until the day he died 26 years later, Wallace was paralyzed in both legs, lived in constant pain and suffered a variety of maladies as a result of his injuries.

A jury in Prince George's County, Md., rejected Bremer's insanity defense, and the judge sentenced him to 63 years in prison, later reduced to 53 years by a county Circuit Court panel.

A case manager, Leonard Vaughan, said that Bremer was to be released under a state program that reduced prison time for inmates who had a prison job and maintained good behavior.

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