Ex-death row inmate to be released from Virginia prison

(Courtesy: Virginia Department of Corrections)

CAPRON, Va. (AP) -- A former Virginia death row inmate who had his sentence commuted to life in prison is expected to be released before Christmas.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Joseph Giarratano will walk out of Deerfield Correctional Center on Dec. 20.

Giarratano was convicted in the 1979 rape and capital murder of 15-year-old Michelle Kline and the murder of her mother, 44-year-old Toni Kline, in Norfolk.

In 1991 -- two days before his scheduled execution -- Gov. L. Douglas Wilder commuted his sentence after questions were raised about his guilt.

Last month, the Virginia State Parole Board approved his release.

Giarratano told the newspaper he plans to live in Charlottesville and work as a paralegal.

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