Controversy has erupted in Tampa, Florida after convicted murderer Ronald Pressley Jr. was released early from prison when it was deduced that he was “wrongly sentenced” by a judge 22 years ago. Pressley was convicted of killing a 19-year-old teenager, Albert Perry, in 1993. Ronald had escaped from a work-release program and shot Perry in the back three times. Pressley was soon arrested and subsequently handed a 40-year sentence for murder and another 20 years for being a felon in possession of a gun. Prosecutors had told the victim’s family that Ronald would not be eligible for parole until 2032.
However, a few days ago, Cheryl McCarter Perry, the mother of the victim received a phone call which told her about the fact that her son’s murderer was being released from prison. Cheryl, who was shattered following the death of her child, was shocked to hear what had happened. Pressley was eventually released on June 4 and has moved in to live with his father – barely two miles from where Perry currently lives.
According to Fox News, Ronald Pressley Jr. was released after he appealed his sentence in 2014. Following the appeal, attorney Anthony Rickman, who reviewed the case, deduced that the judge who had sentenced Pressley in 1993 had done so illegally. Here’s why: At the time of his arrest, Pressley was classified as a habitual offender because of his past criminal record. This resulted in a lengthened minimum time he would be required to stay in prison before he became eligible for parole. However, following the appeal for review in 2014, it was found that Pressley’s past crimes were not serious enough to classify him as a habitual offender. The judge who had sentenced Ronald Pressley Jr. had made an erroneous judgment, the attorney told the Tampa Bay Tribune.
McCarter-Perry said she was “shocked and mad” at the news of Ronald’s release while adding that no one had informed her about the consideration of an early release for her son’s killer.
“I’m shocked, and I’m mad. His father has got his son back with his family but my son will never be with me… and it’s not fair. I feel he did not do no time on my son’s murder,” she told reporters.
She added that Pressley never apologized and did not show any remorse for killing her son and is still seeking answers as to why he was killed in the first place. She now believes her dead son did not receive justice from the system.
Meanwhile, following Pressley’s release, his father posted a picture of him and three of his sons on to his Facebook page with the caption:
“Finally after 23 years God has blessed me for the first time to have all three of my son’s home for the first time. It’s a new day in my life now I am in tears.”
Strange as it may seem, Pressley Sr. and McCarter Perry had been friends before the murder and continued to be on good terms even after that. In fact, Pressley Sr., who also happens to be the neighborhood barber, still cuts McCarter Perry’s hair.
Pressley Sr. said his son intends to lead a normal life. He has also been warned that Pressley Jr. would be sent back to prison to complete the rest of his original sentence in case he violates his parole.
[Image via The Tampa Tribune]