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Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Did Key Angola Witness Go To The 'Dog Pen'?

Louisiana's Angola prison is often referred to as "The Farm." On one edge of its vast acres of corn and cotton are the prison's isolation cells, where two inmates, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, spent the past 36 years in solitary confinement. On the other side, high on a hill is a far more comfortable place: the dog pen.

"This is the place to be, I mean look around," says inmate Randolph Matthews, standing in front of a dozen barking dogs separated by cages. "There's no fences, you live in a house, you have perks. If you didn't know it, you would never know you were even in prison."

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Matthews and a few other inmates live in a beige house next to the dogs. This select group doesn't have to deal with correctional officers or eating with other inmates. Rather than working in the fields, dog pen residents spend their days caring for the bloodhounds and attack dogs that chase down escapees.

It took Matthews almost two decades to work his way to the dog pen. It took Hezekiah Brown only a few days.

Brown was the state's main witness in the case against Wallace and Woodfox, who were charged with the brutal murder of a young correctional officer named Brent Miller in 1972. Now all these years later, questions are being raised about the testimony on which the case stands. [Mark Godsey]

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