WRIGHTSVILLE, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) — Shreveport native Willie Mae Harris who had served more than 30 years in prison for fatally shooting her abusive husband walked free Friday from an Arkansas prison.
Harris was greeted by family and friends when she was released Friday morning from a women’s prison in Wrightsville, Arkansas.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson commuted Harris’ sentence last month, noting that Harris had been physically abused by her husband, Clyde Harris.
Harris, who is now 72-year-old and blind, was born in Minden, Louisiana. She lived her teen and early adult life in Shreveport. In 1985, she was sentenced to life in prison for killing her husband Clyde Harris in Bradley, Arkansas.
Harris has maintained her innocence for 34 years and claims she fired a gun in self-defense after Clyde had tried to rape her. Court records show Willie Mae’s marriage had a history of domestic violence at Clyde’s hands.
She was offered a plea deal to admit guilt and be sentenced to 20 years in prison. As part of the plea, according to Harris, she’d be out of prison in 13 years for good behavior. Willie Mae turned down the deal. Silvia says her mother would never admit to a crime she did not commit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.