Terry Branstad grants commutation request, noting 'extraordinary record'

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Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2013 12:00 am

DES MOINES (AP) — An Iowa man imprisoned for nearly 39 years after killing his neighbor was granted a chance at parole on Friday after the governor agreed to his commutation request, saying he believed the man had turned around his life in prison.

Rasberry Williams fatally shot Lester Givhan outside a pool hall after the two argued over a $30 gambling debt in July 1974. Williams, now 67, claimed self-defense but was convicted of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

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