Wednesday, March 21, 2007

COM: Past history

I've written about this before . . .

Actor Woody Harrelson's Dad Dies in Prison
Was Convicted of Killing Federal Judge in Texas

DENVER Mar 21, 2007 (AP)— Actor Woody Harrelson's father, Charles Harrelson, died in the Supermax federal prison where he was serving two life sentences for the murder of a federal judge, officials said Wednesday.

Charles Harrelson, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell on March 15 and apparently died of natural causes, said Felicia Ponce, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman in Washington.

Ponce did not know the exact cause of death. Fremont County Coroner Dorothy Twellman did not immediately return a call.

Charles Harrelson was convicted of murder in the May 29, 1979, slaying of U.S. District Judge John Wood Jr. outside his San Antonio, Texas, home. Prosecutors said a drug dealer hired him to kill Wood because he did not want the judge to preside at his upcoming trial.

Charles Harrelson denied the killing, saying he was in Dallas, 270 miles away, at the time.

Wood, known as "Maximum John" for the sentences he gave in drug cases, was the first federal judge to be killed in the 20th century.

Charles Harrelson was transferred to Supermax, the highest-security federal prison, after attempting to break out of an Atlanta federal prison in 1995. Other inmates at Supermax, about 90 miles south of Denver, include Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing coconspirator Terry Nichols and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph.

His son got his start in acting as Woody the bartender on TV's "Cheers" beginning in 1985 and went on to star in films including "Natural Born Killers," "White Men Can't Jump" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt."

Woody Harrelson was just 7 when his father was first sent to prison, for murdering a Texas businessman. He was in college when his father was convicted of the judge's assassination.

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