'Killer poet' Norman Porter fighting for his release after decades behind bars

Norman Porter, one of the state's most notorious inmates will try for the third time Thursday to convince the state parole board that he should be released.

Porter, now 79 years old, is a career criminal whose record stretches back to two murders in the early 1960s and includes a prison escape that only ended when the Massachusetts State Police caught him 20 years later in Chicago, where he was living as a poet under the alias Jacob Jameson.

Boston attorney Thomas Herman has represented Porter since 1978 and he will be at Porter's side as goes before the parole board. He tells Boston 25 News reporter Bob Ward that Porter is in failing health.

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"He doesn't have a long time left. He'd like to live it, what time is remaining, on the outside," said Herman.

But beyond the health issue, Herman believes Norman Porter is a rehabilitated man who deserves another chance.

"Norman has gone as far as he can on the inside to rehabilitate himself," said Herman.

The families of the two homicide victims have not forgotten Norman Porter and they too will appear before the parole board, only, they are going to ask that he stays behind bars.

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John Piggott was 22 in 1960 when he was shot and killed in a botched robbery; Porter was convicted of second-degree murder.

Ward spoke to Piggott's cousin Dottie Johnson on the phone who doesn't believe Porter has changed.

"Norman fantasizes and he makes up his stories. And he wants you to believe him. I think you need to believe the facts, the witnesses," said Johnson.

Norman Porter will go before the parole board on January 31.

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