After acknowledging that Mutulu Shakur's health has taken a serious turn for the worse, a federal judge has denied his motion for release from federal prison.
U.S. Senior District Judge Charles S. Haight appeared to sympathize with Shakur, but wrote in his 11-page order that First Step Act -- cited by Shakur's attorney to justify release -- does not apply to convictions that occurred before November 1987. Shakur was convicted of conspiracy to rob armored trucks in 1984, and sentenced to 60 years.
"This is a difficult case. The government does not question the dire nature of Shakur’s present medical condition. Shakur also submits testimonials which describe his rehabilitation in prison and humanitarian assistance he has rendered to other inmates," Haight wrote. "On the other hand, members of the family of the Brinks employee who was killed during the crimes of conviction have written to the Court, expressing their continuing grief and opposition to any reduction in Shakur’s sentence."
Shakur suffers from a "terminal, incurable case of multiple myeloma," as well as bone marrow cancer, and was given six months to live back in late May, his attorneys wrote in court papers.
Haight's ruling leaves Shakur only two remaining options for freedom: re-apply to the Bureau of Prisons, which has already denied his multiple attempts for a compassionate release, or try to compel a parole board to release him. Shakur has filed a habeas petition calling on the federal government to grant him parole. In both cases, it will be a race against time for Shakur, who is incarcerated at Lexington Federal Medical Center in Kentucky.
If he's eventually released, Shakur plans to live with his stepson, well-known rapper and former Outlawz member Mopreme Shakur.
Haight's ruling notes that the Bureau of Prisons did grant a compassionate release to one of Shakur's co-defendants, Marilyn Buck, who died of cancer in 2010 just a month after being freed from prison.
Though his family has cast doubt that he will survive to see his release date, Mutulu's sentence is set to end in November 2024.
Written By: Nate Gartrell