View Full Version : Gary Tyler

1st February 2004, 12:47 AM
Incarcerated in Angola Prison is Gary Tyler, who will turn 46 this July and who has been in prison since 1974. Tyler was arrested and convicted--and originally sentenced to death--in connection with the death of a 13-year-old white boy, Timothy Weber, in October 1974.

Tyler was on board a school bus, one of several filled with black youth, attacked by a racist mob following a fight between black and white students at Destrehan High School. Weber was shot and killed in the melee. Tyler was arrested for talking back to a deputy sheriff, and eventually, hours later, police claimed to find a gun hidden in his seat in the bus. He was charged with murder and convicted by an all-white jury in a case presided over by an openly racist judge. The state's only eyewitness, 15-year-old Natalie Blanks, later recanted her testimony and admitted that she had accused Tyler of firing the fatal shot under pressure from police.

The Workers League, the forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party, and its youth movement, the Young Socialists, took up the Tyler case in 1976, when the youth faced the death penalty. His sentence was eventually commuted to 99 years at hard labor. The party won support from trade unions and other organizations in the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, and as well collected the signatures of 200,000 people on petitions demanding Tyler's release. Although a US Court of Appeals ruled in 1980 that Tyler received a "fundamentally unfair trial," and there is not a shred of evidence connecting him to the killing, he remains in prison.

Gary Tyler # 84156
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola LA 70712

1st February 2004, 09:46 AM
greetings stranger and thanks for the reminder.................BT

1st February 2004, 10:53 PM
Hello Brian,

I don't post often but always read this board. Thank you for taking time to reply. graemlins/smokin.gif

1st February 2004, 11:34 PM
Such a sad story

2nd February 2004, 03:35 AM
Gary Tyler # 84156
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola LA 70712

Makes me sick to my soul to remember this and to Thank us all for our freedom !!!


Tyler is guilty.....why?
The Judge Said so

2nd February 2004, 08:50 AM
wonder whether they're still doin anything to get him out. :(

2nd February 2004, 11:30 AM
greetings......why not drop him a post card or letter.....? bt

2nd February 2004, 11:44 AM
Great idea Brian!!!
I'm going to send him one...it's the least I can do for him... :(

Big Love! graemlins/love.gif


2nd February 2004, 11:55 AM
I may do so too. The poor bloke will suddenly receive thousands of letters from loonies!

It's disgusting though and, unfortunately, he's not the only one rotting in prison for a crime he didn't do.

2nd February 2004, 12:05 PM
Brilliant idea, im gonna do it. At least he will know that there are real honest people out there that do care!!


2nd February 2004, 12:33 PM
Wonder if he knows theres a song about him graemlins/bouncegrey.gif

4th February 2004, 05:36 PM
i am gonna write . wonder if he'll understand devonian ?? mee luuvverrrr ....hmmm graemlins/smokin.gif

4th February 2004, 05:37 PM
i am gonna write . wonder if he'll understand devonian ?? mee luuvverrrr ....hmmm graemlins/smokin.gif

4th February 2004, 05:38 PM
i am gonna write . wonder if he'll understand devonian ?? mee luuvverrrr ....hmmm .... :p

4th February 2004, 07:07 PM
just emailed "Louisiana State Penitentiary
" for postal deatails, will put em on ere wen i get a reply....How Sad !

for those that wanna do their own thing go to http://www.corrections.state.la.us

4th February 2004, 07:34 PM
I will write also, hope he gets a load of letters and cards. I cannot imagine what he must be going through every day. Is there any hope of something happening like an appeal? how come these people get away with this sort of thing. Dosen't it just make you despair of the world.

4th February 2004, 07:34 PM
I will write also, hope he gets a load of letters and cards. I cannot imagine what he must be going through every day. Is there any hope of something happening like an appeal? how come these people get away with this sort of thing. Dosen't it just make you despair of the world.

4th February 2004, 07:40 PM
Is there anything that can be done for Gary Tyler? it must be soul destroying for the poor bloke, can he appeal or something, how can people get away with this sort of thing,not just in this case everywhere around the world. Doesn't it make you despair of the human race

4th February 2004, 07:52 PM
There was a documentary made about Angola Prison called 'The Farm'. It featured stories of 6 of the Inmates (one being Gary Tyler) ... it was nominated for an Acadamy Award in 1998.
Dont know if it were ever released in the UK but would be interesting to see it.


4th February 2004, 07:53 PM
There was a documentary made about Angola Prison called 'The Farm'. It featured stories of 6 of the Inmates (one being Gary Tyler) ... it was nominated for an Acadamy Award in 1998.
Dont know if it were ever released in the UK but would be interesting to see it.


4th February 2004, 08:23 PM
That link that Paulb40 put on makes interesting reading

Poor bloke a life wasted behind bars for somat he didnt even do :(

wipe off the debt
4th February 2004, 10:13 PM


The members of the Board of Pardons are appointed by the Governor. The Board, which operates autonomously, must weigh the safety of the general public while also providing clemency relief as deemed appropriate to eligible incarcerated individuals who have shown that they have been rehabilitated and can become law-abiding citizens. They also offer a behavioral incentive for convicted inmates who are without release dates because of the sentences they are serving and restore citizenship rights to those who have completed their sentences. Support staff assigned to the Board are employees of Corrections Services.

Pardon Board
504 Mayflower St.

Building 6
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone: 225-342-5421
FAX: 225-342-2289

* You can retrieve an application on line, however, you must mail the completed application with the original signature, into our office. Thank You.

5th February 2004, 02:08 AM
:( :( :(
I think its terrible the injustice of it.I think we should all sign a petition for his release.Too much of his life(and others like him)has already been wasted. graemlins/friends.gif

5th February 2004, 02:08 AM
:( :( :(
I think its terrible the injustice of it.I think we should all sign a petition for his release.Too much of his life(and others like him)has already been wasted. graemlins/friends.gif

5th February 2004, 02:18 AM
:( :( :(

I think its terible the injustice of it.I think we should all sign a petition for his release.Too many lives have been wasted behind bars for crimes that people didnt commit while the real culprits get away with it. :confused: :confused:

5th February 2004, 12:14 PM
how come the posts on this topic keep multiplying themselves? :confused:

5th February 2004, 01:55 PM
No idea :(

5th February 2004, 01:56 PM
No idea :(

5th February 2004, 01:56 PM
graemlins/laff.gif Sorry guys, had to do that!

Free Tyler! graemlins/bouncered.gif

5th February 2004, 02:27 PM
Check this out http://www.wsws.org/arts/1998/may1998/farm-m23.shtml

Read the paragraph about Eugene Tannehill and how he's just waiting on the Governor of Louisiana's signature having received a pardon ...
And how long Ashanti Witherspoon was sentenced to for armed robbery and no-one was killed ... 75 years!!!!
4kin unbeleivable what goes on! I'd really like to see that documentary.


5th February 2004, 08:52 PM
Who cares if the messages repeat themselves,I didn't think any of my posts were going to get through, because there was was a fault on the whatsits!!! anyway the most important thing is that people are made aware of the plight of all Gary Tylers everywhere.

The hand that rocks the cradle! graemlins/friends.gif

5th February 2004, 10:52 PM
'Tyler' is my all-time favorite UB40 tune. Poignant lyrics, a repeated haunting sax riff and an 'unprofessional' yet masterly production that resembles to Lee Perry's sound-scapes.

Here's some more info regarding Gary Tyler and the criminal justice he had to face - moderately reported by Amnesty International.

AI INDEX : AMR 51/89/94

Amnesty International
International Secretariat
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 8DJ
United Kingdom
Tel: (44) (020) 7413 5500
Fax: (44) (020) 7956 1157


The case of Gary Tyler, Louisiana


Gary Tyler, black, now aged 36, is serving a life prison
sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary. He was convicted
in November 1975 for the murder of 13-year-old Timothy
Weber, a white schoolboy who was shot during racial
fighting in 1974. Tyler, who was 16 at the time of the
incident, has consistently denied involvement in the crime.
Since his trial, serious doubts have been raised about the
evidence on which he was convicted. Nineteen years after
his conviction he is again seeking a pardon.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned at evidence which
suggests that a serious miscarriage of justice occurred
either as a result of or exacerbated by his race and the
racially charged atmosphere at the time of the events, the
seriously deficient legal representation which Gary Tyler
received at his trial before an all-white jury, and new
evidence that has come to light over the years which
suggests that Gary Tyler did not shoot the victim.

General Background

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that schools
should no longer be racially segregated: in order to
integrate schools black students were taken by bus from
their living areas to schools in white populated areas.
However, the authorities of Destrehan High School strongly
resisted this policy and only in the 1960s - and as a
result of a Court Order - the school finally started the
process of integration. In 1974, the tensions created by
the resistance of whites to desegregation resulted in
frequent clashes in which the Klu Klux Klan, the white
supremacist organization, played a leading role.

On 7 October 1974 students at Destrehan High School, St
Charles Parish, Louisiana, were sent home earlier than
usual due to racial disturbances during the day. As the
buses carrying black students back to their homes were
leaving the school they were attacked by a group of 100 to
200 white people throwing stones and bottles at the buses.

Timothy Weber was standing near the buses with his mother
who had come to collect him. A shot was heard and he fell
wounded; he died a few hours later in hospital. A man
standing next to him was slightly scratched in the arm,
allegedly by the same bullet.

Gary Tyler was one of the black students on the bus from
which the shot was allegedly fired. This was not his
regular bus but he had got into it as the situation had
become increasingly dangerous. There were some 65 students
on the bus, well over its normal capacity.

The police, who had been called by the school principal,
ordered the bus to park around the corner. All students
were ordered to get off the bus and male students were
thoroughly searched immediately; girl students were
searched later at the police station. The bus was searched
on two different occasions for over three hours by
approximately seven policemen and no gun was found. The
bus was then taken to the police station along with the
students. Gary Tyler was taken in a police car as he had
been charged with disturbing the peace (he had complained
about the police harassment of a fellow black student).

At the police station the students were questioned and
released. One of them, Nathalie Blanks, stated that she
had been seating next to Tyler and had seen him fire a gun
into the crowd; she indicated to the police the exact place
where she had been seating. It was after Blanks' testimony
that the police "found" a .45 automatic gun stuffed inside
the seat, through a long, clearly visible tear in the seat.
The seat had been previously searched, shaken and turned
upside down several times and nothing had been found.

Gary Tyler was detained in the police station and
reportedly badly beaten. However, he did not make any
statement implicating himself in any way.

Charges and trial

Gary Tyler was charged with first degree murder, a capital
crime. The first degree murder charge meant that his case
had to be tried in the adult criminal court rather than the
juvenile court. A lesser charge, including second-degree
murder, would have been tried in juvenile court given
Tyler's young age. The most severe punishment imposed
would have been juvenile supervision until the age of 21 at
a juvenile detention facility.

Gary Tyler was tried by an all-white jury with members of
the black community deliberately excluded from the jury.
The prosecution relied mainly on the testimony of one girl
student, Nathalie Blanks, who was in the same bus with
Tyler. She testified to having seen Gary Tyler fire the
gun but after the trial she recanted her testimony. Other
students who also testified against Tyler have later
recanted, saying that they were coerced by the police to
making the statements.

Gary Tyler was represented by a white lawyer who
specialized in civil cases. He spent a total of about one
hour with Gary Tyler during the whole year previous to the
trial. Furthermore, he did not interview witnesses, present
any expert witnesses or conduct tests on physical evidence
offered by the state; he failed to object to gross errors
committed at trial. His failure to object to the judge's
instructions to the jury meant that later appeals have been
lost on this issue.

The forensic evidence presented by the prosecution was of
questionable quality and did not clearly and definitely
implicate Gary Tyler in the murder.

For example, the alleged murder weapon, a .45 automatic
gun, had been allegedly stolen from a police firing range
used by St Charles Parish policemen, who arrested Gary
Tyler and were in charge of investigating the murder. It
had no fingerprints and there was no evidence showing
whether it had been recently fired. Despite a very thorough
search by several policemen it had not been found until
after Nathalie Blanks indicated on which seat she (and
allegedly Tyler) was sitting. It was then found, hidden in
a seat through a slit in the cover. However, Gary Tyler
did not have a knife or any cutting instrument and none of
the knives found in the bus had his fingerprints. There
were no tests performed on the bullet to determine whether
it was in fact the one that had killed Timothy Weber. Gary
Tyler's gloves had, until the day before the trial, been
deemed by the prosecution as not having any evidence on
them relevant to the charge against him. On that day
however, the state informed the defence that 3-4 particles
of nitrates had been found in them. The gloves had been
subjected to an unreliable testing procedure which the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had not used for
years. Also, the alleged particles were so scarce that
there was not enough left for the defense to carry out

In order to get a conviction of first degree murder the
state was required to prove that Tyler had acted "with a
specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm on
more than one person". The slight injury suffered by the
man standing next to Timothy Weber therefore became

Gary Tyler was convicted and sentenced to death on 14
November 1975.


Louisiana's death penalty law was declared unconstitutional
by the United States Supreme Court in 1976. In January
1977 the Supreme Court of Louisiana annulled the death
sentence imposed on Gary Tyler as a result of this ruling.
However, it affirmed his conviction for first degree
murder. His death sentence was commuted to life
imprisonment without eligibility for parole, probation or
suspension of sentence for a period of 20 years.

As a result of a new appeal the US Court of Appeals, Fifth
Circuit, held in June 1980 that "Tyler was convicted on the
basis of an unconstitutional charge" and that his trial had
been "fundamentally unfair". The court reached this
decision on a finding that the trial judge had erred when
he instructed the jury to find that the defendant, Tyler,
had "intended the natural and probable consequences of his
act" ie to kill or inflict great bodily harm on more than
one person.

After examining rulings in other cases the appeal court
concluded that "the threshold issue for this court is
whether the [judge's instruction] given here so infected
the trial as to render it fundamentally unfair. We
conclude that it did."

The court found that, as Tyler's lawyer had failed to
object to the judge's erroneous instruction at the time of
the trial, this error could not normally be redressed on
appeal. However, they nevertheless vacated his conviction
and ordered a retrial on the ground that the lawyer's
failure to object was so serious that it led to a
miscarriage of justice.

The state appealed against this decision and on 27 April
1981 the US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit reversed its
previous decision. It did not dispute that the judge's
charge to the jury was unconstitutional and reiterated its
view that the trial had been "fundamentally unfair" but
reversed its previous decision to order a new trial on the
issue of the defense lawyer's failure to object to the
judge's instruction at the appropriate time.

The US Supreme Court subsequently declined to hear the
case. [NB The US Supreme Court receives thousands of
appeals each year but selects only some for consideration.
Others are not reviewed by the court]

Further proceedings in the case

In 1989 Gary Tyler petitioned the Louisiana Board of
Pardons (LBP) to be granted pardon. This was the only means
by which he could have his sentence reduced to one which
gave him the possibility of parole. In October 1989 the
LBP heard testimony for several hours but postponed acting
on the case to allow time for the state Attorney General's
office to answer questions raised about key evidence used
in Tyler's trial.

On 14 December 1989 the LBP voted 3-2 to recommend then
Governor Charles Roemer to reduce Gary Tyler's sentence
from life imprisonment without parole for 20 years to a 60
year prison sentence. The reduction of the sentence would
make the prisoner eligible for parole on completion of a
third of the sentence, ie 20 years. This apparent
contradiction comes from a Louisiana Statute which provides
that no person who is serving a life sentence shall be
eligible for parole unless the sentence is first reduced to
a fixed number of years by the Louisiana Board of Pardons
and the Governor. According to the Board, therefore, Gary
Tyler will not be eligible for parole after he has served
20 years unless he has first received a pardon.

On 24 January 1990, however, Governor Roemer rejected the
recommendation of the LBP. He argued that Gary Tyler had
had a fair trial by all legal standards. This statement did
not acknowledge the finding by the Court of Appeal in two
decisions that Tyler had been "convicted on the basis of an
unconstitutional charge" which had "infected the trial" to
the point of rendering it "fundamentally unfair".

He added that Tyler had not made serious efforts towards
rehabilitation because he had not enrolled in educational
programs while in prison (a charge Tyler strongly rejects).
In May 1991 Gary Tyler passed his exams to obtain a
secondary education certificate (General Education Diploma,
GED). He has been very involved in the prison Drama Club
and has taken a printing course in the prison; he has been
offered a job in a printing company in California to be
taken up on his release.

A new application for a full pardon was filed on 27
February 1991. In it Gary Tyler requested clemency
"because he is innocent of the charge against him, trial
was fundamentally unfair and he was denied the presumption
of innocence, the Courts have refused to take action
because of an error made by his trial attorney and his
trial attorney was unable to remember why he made the
error...". The LBP considered the case and on 4 December
1991 it unanimously recommended to reduce Gary Tyler's
sentence to 50 years and to restore the benefit of
reduction for good behaviour making him immediately
elegible for parole.

Governor Roemer had two alternatives open to him regarding
Tyler's case: to decide on the case (in favour or
rejecting) or do nothing thus leaving the decision to his
succesor, Edwin Edwards. On 13 January 1992, shortly
before leaving office, Governor Roemer denied clemency to
Gary Tyler. Unlike previous occasions he gave no reasons
for his decision and refused to talk to the press about it.

Roemer's denial meant that Governor Edwards could not
consider Tyler's case for one year. The rules of the LBP
state that after a petition is denied the prisoner cannot
re-apply until a year later. The Board would then consider
the case and make a recommendation which would then go to
the Governor. This process takes around a year to be

In 1989 and 1991 Amnesty International wrote to the
Louisiana Board of Pardons and Governor Roemer urging them
to grant a pardon in the interest of justice.

Latest developments

Gary Tyler has applied again for a pardon to the Louisiana
Board of Pardons. This is his third attempt to be granted
pardon. The hearing before the Board is likely to take
place in late January 1995. The Board's recommendation
would go to Governor Edwin Edwards for final decision.
Governor Edwards' term of office ends in March 1995.

Gary Tyler's original sentence included eligibility for
parole after serving 20 years. However, the state of
Louisiana is now contesting this issue and denying that he
will be automatically eligible for parole in November 1995,
when he will have served 20 years in prison. His attorneys
are currently pursuing litigation on this issue.

There are still sectors in Louisiana's society that
strongly oppose the granting of a pardon to Gary Tyler but,
on the other hand, his previous application elicited
support from, among others, church groups, members of the
City of New Orleans Council, Louisiana Senators and the
National Lawyers Guild.

6th February 2004, 10:42 AM
Bar stewards :mad:

6th February 2004, 10:55 AM
Bar stewards :mad:

7th February 2004, 12:28 PM
Does anybody have any recent information?