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After 35 years in prison for stealing a black-white television set, Junior Allen is a free man.
Allen, 65, walked out of prison Friday, ending a case that attracted widespread attention because he remained in jail while other inmates convicted of murder, rape or child molestation were released.
"I'm glad to be out," Allen told supporters outside Orange Correctional Center. "I've done too much time for what I did. I won't be truly happy until I see a sign that says I'm outside of North Carolina."
Allen was a 30-year-old migrant farm worker from Georgia with a criminal history that included burglaries and a violent assault when he sneaked into an unlocked house and stole a 19-inch black-white television worth $140.
Some state records say Allen roughed up the 87-year-old woman who lived there, but he was not convicted of assault.
Instead, he was sentenced in 1970 to life in prison for second-degree burglary. The penalty for the offence has since been changed to a maximum of three years in prison.