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US woman freed after record jail term

Arizona - America’s longest-serving woman prisoner has walked free after 49 years behind bars.

When Betty Smithey, then 20, began her life sentence for smothering a 15-month-old while baby-sitting, the moon landing was still six years away.

Betty Smithey, America's longest-serving female inmate, reacts with Donna Leone Hamm on left, a Director of Middle Ground Reform, after the Arizona's Board of Executive Clemency released her with 49 years served for a 1963 murder. Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Now 69, walking with the aid of a cane, she left Perryville prison in Phoenix, Arizona, having been granted a discharge this week after the parole board “saw no value” in jailing her any longer.

On facing a world changed beyond recognition, she said: “It’s going to be a big adjustment, but I’ll make good.”

In 1983 she received a letter of forgiveness from the family of her victim.

Earlier this year Arizona’s governor reduced her sentence to 49 years, making her finally eligible for parole. - Daily Mail

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