List of longest prison sentences served

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This is a list of longest prison sentences served by a single person, worldwide, without a period of freedom followed by a second conviction. These cases rarely coincide with the longest prison sentences given, because some countries have laws that do not allow sentences without parole or for convicts to remain in prison beyond a given number of years (regardless of their original conviction).

  This color indicates cases where imprisonment is still ongoing

Prisoners who served more than sixty years[edit]

Name Sentence start Sentence end Sentence duration Country Description
Charles Fossard 1903 1974 70 years, 303 days  Australia Homeless French Australian recluded in the J Ward mental asylum in Ararat, Victoria after murdering an elderly man and stealing his boots. Died while still incarcerated at the age of 92.[1]
Francis Clifford Smith 7 June 1950 ongoing 68 years, 286 days  United States Oldest prisoner in the United States. Sentenced to death for the murder of a nightwatchman during a robbery at a yacht club in July 1949, his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1954, only two hours before his scheduled execution.
Paul Geidel Jr. 1911 1980 68 years, 245 days  United States Longest-serving prison inmate in the United States whose sentence ended in release. Incarcerated from 1911, aged 17 and released 1980 at 86. He died in a nursing home in 1987, aged 93.
John Phillips 17 July 1952 ongoing 66 years, 246 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in North Carolina. Convicted for the rape of a five-year-old girl.[2]
Johnson Van Dyke Grigsby 1908 1974 66 years, 123 days  United States Sentenced to life in prison for murder, he was denied parole 69 times before he was released at age 89. Returned to prison voluntarily, citing difficulty finding a job, but left again in 1976. Died in 1987, aged 101.
William Heirens 1946 2012 65 years, 181 days  United States Known as the "Lipstick Killer". Reputed to be the longest surviving prisoner in Chicago. Died in prison.
Joseph Ligon 1953 ongoing 65 years, 92 days  United States The oldest juvenile lifer in the US, Ligon at age 15 was sentenced to life without parole for murder, a mandatory sentence at the time.[3] Ligon first rejected a resentencing and parole offer in 2016.[4] Ligon was again resentenced in 2017 and immediately eligible for parole but refused it, pending his appeal. Ligon contends that he should be resentenced to "time served" and released, so that can cut all ties to the justice system.[3]
Clarence Marshall 1950 2015 64 years, 70 days  United States Longest-serving prisoner in Michigan. Sentenced to life in prison on one count of armed robbery and another of unarmed assault "with intent to rob and steal". Paroled.
Richard Honeck 1899 1963 64 years, 44 days  United States Aged 22, Honeck was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a former school friend. He was paroled after 63 years and one month. He died in 1976, aged 97.
Howard Christensen 1937 2001 64 years  United States Sentenced to life without parole for the murder of a teacher in 1937, when he was 16, along with a 17-year-old accomplice who hanged himself in prison in 1943. His sentence was commuted to 200 years in the mid-1970s. Died in 2003, aged 82.
Charles Edret Ford 1952 2016 64 years  United States Prisoner incarcerated for the longest time who was found to be innocent on retrial, and the longest serving prisoner in Maryland. Ford, a black man, was convicted for murder by an all-white jury in 1952, when he was 20, and again for an assault in 1975 supposedly committed while he was on parole. The second victim identified a different man as her attacker but the judge argued that both men looked alike enough. Ford, at the time the only person present at his first conviction who was still alive, was granted retrials in 2015 for both charges because he had not been informed of his right to appeal the sentences. He was found innocent of both and released to a nursing home.[5]
Oliver Terpening 1947 2010 63 years, 125 days  United States Killed a school friend and three young girls and attempted to rape another girl because he wanted to know how it felt to kill somebody. He found the experience disappointing. Died in prison.
"Old" Bill Wallace 1926 1989 63 years  Australia Imprisoned for shooting a man in an argument over a cigarette in a cafe of Melbourne. Died a month before his 108th birthday, still in prison, incarcerated in J Ward.
Walter H. Bourque Jr. 1955 ongoing 63 years, 99 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in New Hampshire. Serving a sentence of 99 years and six months for the axe murder of a four-year-old girl when he was 17.
Warren Nutter 1956 ongoing 63 years, 38 days  United States Youngest man ever sentenced to death in Iowa, when he was 18 years old, for the murder of a patrolman during a gas station robbery. Sentence commuted to life in prison in 1957.[6]
Hugh Alderman 1917 1980 62 years, 192 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Florida. Escaped twice in 1919 and 1924. Moved to a mental hospital in 1927, where he died in 1980, aged 86.
Howard Unruh 1949 2009 60 years  United States Mass murderer who killed 13 people and injured three in Camden, New Jersey. Recluded in a mental hospital without trial or conviction.

Prisoners who served between fifty and sixty years[edit]

Name Sentence start Sentence end Sentence duration Country Description
Raymond L. Shuman 13 June 1958 3 February 2018[7] 59 years, 7 months, 20 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Nevada. Jailed for the robbery and murder of two men while he and his partner (who was the one that pulled the trigger) were AWOL from the US Navy. Set another prisoner on fire in 1973 due to a dispute about leaving a window open. Died in 2018.
Chester Weger 4 April 1961 ongoing 57 years, 350 days  United States Convicted for the murder of three women in Starved Rock State Park in 1960. Last denied parole in November 2016.[8]
Jesse Pomeroy December 1874 September 29, 1932 57 years, nine months  United States Teenage serial killer nicknamed "The Boy Fiend", who tortured nine younger children and killed two in Boston, Massachusetts. Sentenced to death when he was 15 years old, this was changed to life in solitary confinement after two consecutive governors refused to sign his death warrant. The solitary confinement was lifted in 1917, and he died in 1932, still in prison.
Booker T. Hillery 1962 ongoing 56 years, 139 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in California. Originally sentenced to death but changed to life in prison in the 1970s. Appealed, was retried and found guilty again in 1986.
Mehmet VI 1861 1918 56 years  Ottoman Empire Kept in the Seraglio and the Kafes from his birth to his accession to the throne, aged 56. He was both the last Ottoman prince to be ritually imprisoned by his family and the one who was imprisoned for the longest time.
Joe Carr 1941 1997 56 years  United States Longest serving prisoner in Kansas. Convicted of murder for strangling a newborn and tossing his body in the Arkansas river. Carr refused to apply for parole until he was released, aged 79.
William Holly Griffith 1915 1971 55 years, 359 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in West Virginia, known as "the bestial killer" and the "leading bad man" in the state. Sentenced to life for murdering the POlice Chief [9] that was going to arrest him and a Constable[10] during his escape to Ohio, where he was arrested. Tried to flee prison several times, the last one when he was already suffering from cancer. Died in prison.
Hans-Georg Neumann 1963 ongoing 55 years, 294 days  Germany Abducted and shot a young couple at a lovers lane. Longest serving prisoner in Germany.
John Straffen 1952 2007 55 years  United Kingdom Multiple child killer. Sentenced to death for his third murder, which took place after he escaped from a mental hospital; the sentence was commuted to life in prison. Longest-serving prisoner in the United Kingdom at the time of his death.
Frank Wetzel 1957 2012 55 years  United States Sentenced to two life sentences for the murders of two highway patrolmen when he was driving to Mississippi to break his brother out of death row. His brother was executed two months later. Wetzel died of Alzheimer's disease when he was 90 years old, still in prison.[11]
András Toma 1945 2000 55 years  Soviet Union
Believed to be the last POW of World War II. Toma, a Hungarian soldier, was captured in southern Poland in 1945 and later interned in a mental hospital of rural Kotelnich, in Russia. His documents were lost and he was listed as KIA by the Hungarian Army. He was returned to Hungary after a Czech linguist realized that he spoke an eastern dialect of the Hungarian language. Died in 2004, aged 79.
Leotha Brown 1964 ongoing 55 years, 78 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Louisiana.
Garold Rheinschmidt 1960 May 1, 2015 54 years, eight months, 12 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Wisconsin at the time of his death.[12]
Tony Rawlins 28 December 1955 17 April 2010 54 years, three months, 20 days  Australia Convicted of the "Kissing Point mutilation murder", strangling a 12-year-old girl who rejected his advances. Was Australia's longest serving prisoner when he died, with 18 parole applications being rejected.
Willie Gaines Smith 1960 2014 54 years, 105 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Kentucky. Rejected parole because no nursing home accepted him and he would receive better medical care in prison. Died at the age of 76, still incarcerated.
Don Diego de Castilla y Sandoval 1370 1424 54 years  Castile Posthumous illegitimate child of Peter I of Castile. Recluded in Curiel castle when he was an infant, under orders of Henry II. Freed after his daughter, fathered with the castle warden's daughter, solicited his release to John II. Died in Coca in 1459, aged 89.[13][14]
Sheldry Topp 1963 ongoing 54 years  United States Oldest juvenile lifer in Michigan. Last denied parole in 2016.[15]
James R. Moore 1963 ongoing 54 years  United States Pled guilty to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to "natural life." Last parole application rejected in 2016.[16]
Machal Lalung 1951 2005 54 years  India Originally arrested for "causing grievous harm," Lalung was interned in a psychiatric hospital until he was declared "fully fit" in 1967. However, he was mistakenly transferred to prison rather than released, and forgotten about until 2005. He was released without ever being tried or convicted, aged 77.[17]
Robert Stroud 1909 1963 54 years  United States Known as "the Birdman of Alcatraz" for the research on bird diseases that he conducted alone in his cell, although he actually did it at Leavenworth Penitentiary before he was moved to the federal prison in Alcatraz Island.
Harvey Stewart 1958 2011 or 2012 53 or 54 years  United States Paroled after serving a combined time of 60 years for various sentences in Texas.
Jerry Lee Hansen 1965 ongoing 53 years, 304 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Nebraska. Jailed for the murder of his parents in law and the attempted murder of his then wife. Disarmed a corrections officer and shot his ex-wife a second time in 1973, paralyzing her.
Antonio "Tony" Wheat 1965 ongoing 53 years, 139 days  United States Longest serving prisoner in Washington state. Next parole hearing in 2020.
Richard Robles 1965 ongoing 53 years, 109 days  United States Perpetrator of the Career Girls Murders.
Giulio d'Este 1506 1559 53 years Duchy of Ferrara (now Italy) Illegitimate son of Ercole I d'Este, duke of Ferrara. Organized a failed plot aimed at eliminating his half-brothers duke Alfonso I d'Este and cardinal Ippolito d'Este. Sentenced to death, his penalty was commuted to life imprisonment. Freed by his grandnephew Alfonso II d'Este in 1559 at the age of 81.
Peter Woodcock 1957 2010 52 years, 328 days  Canada Declared not guilty by reason of insanity and recluded in a mental hospital for the murder of three young children. Murdered a fellow patient in 1991. Died in 2010, still interned.
William MacDonald May 1963 May 12, 2015 52 years  Australia English-born Australian Serial killer known as "the Sydney Mutilator." Oldest and longest serving prisoner in New South Wales at the time of his death.
Jimmy Ennis November 9, 1964 2016 52 years  Ireland Longest held prisoner in Ireland. Sentenced to life in prison for fatally bludgeoning a farmer in County Cork following a dispute. He had just finished a prison term for attacking a woman with a hatchet.[18] He refused to apply for release until he was freed in 2016, aged 87.[19]
Winston Moseley 1964 2016 51 years, 291 days  United States Murderer of Kitty Genovese. Died in prison.
Walter Kelbach 1967 ongoing 51 years, 316 days  United States Spree killer who murdered five people and raped two in Utah with his cousin.
Ian Brady 1966 2017 51 years, 10 days  United Kingdom Perpetrator of the Moors murders together with his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, who died in prison in 2002. Longest serving prisoner in the United Kingdom at the time of his death.
Alfred Tai 1963 2014 51 years  United States Longest serving prisoner in Hawaii. Paroled at the age of 72.
Alfred Vincent 1968 ongoing 50 years, 231 days  New Zealand Man held in preventive prison for the longest time in the world: sentence was imposed for assaulting five boys. Suspected of having molested between 200-500 children.[20]
Hugo Pinell 1965 2015 50 years  United States Nicaraguan national sentenced to life in prison for rape. See below.
John Weber 1926 1976 50 years  United States Originally an immigrant from Austria-Hungary, Weber was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the fatal shooting of his 18-month old daughter, which he served in Columbus' Ohio Penitentiary. In 1972, Governor John J. Gilligan commuted his sentence to murder in the second degree. This made him eligible for parole, but he never benefited from it. Was the oldest prisoner in the United States at the time of his death, only a few months from his 100th birthday.[21][22]

Prisoners who served less than fifty years, but notable for other reasons[edit]

Name Sentence start Sentence end Sentence duration Country Description
Sirhan Sirhan 17 April 1969 ongoing 49 years, 337 days  United States Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship. Assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. Originally sentenced to death, sentence commuted in 1971 to life in prison. Parole has been denied 15 times.
Heinrich Pommerenke 10 June 1959 27 December 2008 49 years, six months, 17 days  Germany Serial killer known as "the Monster of the Black Forest." Was Germany's longest serving prisoner when he died.
Søren Mathiasen 1876 1925 49 years, 180 days  Denmark Farmer sentenced to life of hard labor in Horsens State Prison for killing the moneylender he was indebted to. Paroled.
Betty Smithey 1963 2012 49 years  United States Longest serving female prisoner in the United States at the time of her parole.
"Crazy Jimmie" Williams 1948 1998 49 years  United States Longest serving prisoner in Arizona at the time of his death, aged 66.
Melvin Thomas Mott 5 March 1965 19 February 2014 48 years, 11 months, 14 days  Australia Originally sentenced to two and a half years for child sex offences and escaping from custody, he was convicted of the 1964 murder of a 13-year-old girl in 1968 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Longest serving prisoner in Queensland when he died, having had 14 parole applications rejected.
Carlos Eduardo Robledo Puch 1972 ongoing 47 years, 44 days  Argentina Serial killer. Longest serving prisoner in South America
Pietro Acciarito 29 May 1897 4 December 1943 46 years, 6 months, 5 days  Italy Attempted assassin of Umberto I of Italy. Sentence spent entirely in solitary confinement.
Rudolf Hess 10 May 1941 17 August 1987 46 years, 3 months, 7 days  United Kingdom
 West Germany
Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany who flew solo to Scotland to negotiate a peace treaty but was instead taken prisoner. He was later tried for "crimes against peace" and sentenced to life in prison, which he served in Spandau. Committed suicide.
Juan Corona 18 January 1973 4 March 2019 46 years, one month, 14 days  United States Mexican serial killer nicknamed "the Machete Murderer, who killed 25 migrants farm workers and buried them in fruit orchards of northern California. Died in 2019.
Joanna I of Castile 1509 1555 46 years  Castile
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Spain
Recluded in a nunnery of Tordesillas until her death, following orders of her father Ferdinand II of Aragon.
Walerian Łukasiński 1822 1868 46 years Military ensign of Vistula Flotilla of Congress Poland.svg Congress Poland
Polish military officer suspected of harboring anti-Russian sentiments, kept in prison even after completing his original sentence of 14 years. Sentence spent entirely in solitary confinement
Iwao Hakamada 1968 2014 46 years  Japan Spent entirely in death row. See below.
Amy Archer-Gilligan 1917 1962 45 years  United States Nursing home proprietor who poisoned her two husbands and a number of her tenants to cash on their life insurance. Originally sentenced to death, the sentence was changed to life in prison after a retrial in 1919. Served her sentence in a mental hospital from 1924 to her death.
Clarence Carnes 1943 1988 45 years  United States Originally sentenced to life in prison for murder when he was 16 years old, he was sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1945 after two unsuccessful escape attempts. He took part in the "Battle of Alcatraz" the following year, but was recaptured and was sentenced to a further 203 years in prison. He was granted parole in 1973, but it was revoked twice before he died in prison from AIDS-related complications.
Kim Sŏn-myŏng 1951 1995 45 years  South Korea Longest held of the "unconverted long-term prisoners," North Korean POWs captured during the Korean War who refused to renounce Juche. Kim Sŏn-myŏng was born in the south but joined the north, and was sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life in prison; his family denounced him and had him declared dead in 1975. Released to North Korea.
Albert Woodfox 1971 2016 45 years  United States Black Panther imprisoned for robbery and later put in solitary confinement for the murder of a prison guard in 1972. See below.
Magdelaine Chapelain 1679 1724 44 years, six months  France Parisian fortune-teller involved in the Affair of the Poisons. Died in prison.
John Davis 1935 44 years+  United States Sentenced to prison in South Carolina for bulgary; in 1979 he was still serving time in prison at age 103[23]
Sharon Wiggins 1969 2013 44 years  United States Longest juvenile female serving life without parole. After fatal bank robbery, she was sentenced to death at 17 years old. Three years later, commuted to life without parole.
Sundiata Acoli 1974 ongoing 44 years  United States Former Black Panther Party finance minister and Black Liberation Army member sentenced to life plus 30 years for the murder of a State Trooper during a shootout at the New Jersey Turnpike. Acoli was accompanied by Zayd Shakur, who was killed in the shooting, and Assata Shakur who was also imprisoned for the murder but escaped from prison in 1979 and was granted political asylum in Cuba.
Leslie Isben Rogge 1996 ongoing  United States Bank robber-sentenced to 65 years; cannot be released until 2048 at age 108
Thomas Joseph W. Sisson 1918 1957 39 years  United States Sentenced to prison in prison in Arizona for taking part in the killing of a Sheriff and two deputies[24] at Power's Cabin shootout; prisoner died in prison age 86 - reportedly the oldest inmate in Arizona history[citation needed]
Leonard T. Fristone 1920 1970 served 10 years see explanation  United States Involed in killing of a Constable and a Deputy Sheriff in 1920;[25] escaped 1924; recaptured 1964 paroled 1970

Longest spells in solitary confinement[edit]

The sentence duration refers to the time spent in solitary confinement, regardless of time spent in normal prison before or after. Death row prisoners, who are usually also held in isolation, are not included.

Name Sentence start Sentence end Sentence duration Country Description
Walerian Łukasiński 1822 1868 46 years Military ensign of Vistula Flotilla of Congress Poland.svg Congress Poland
See above.
Hugo Pinell 1969 2015 46 years  United States Murdered by another inmate during a riot two weeks after his solitary confinement was lifted.
Pietro Acciarito 29 May 1897 4 December 1943 46 years, six months, 5 days  Italy See above.
Albert Woodfox 1972 2016 44 years  United States Placed in solitary confinement for the murder of a corrections officer. Released in 2016.
Robert Stroud 1916 1959 42 years  United States Imposed for murdering a prison guard in McNeil Island.
Jesse Pomeroy 1875 1917 41 years  United States See above.
Woo Yong-gak 1958 1999 41 years  South Korea Captured during a North Korean commando raid after the armistice. Released to North Korea in 2000.
Herman Wallace 1972 2013 41 years  United States Placed in solitary confinement for the murder of the same corrections officer as Woodfox. Released in 2013, when he had advanced liver cancer, but re-indicted two days later. Died the next day before he could be arrested.
Mark David Chapman 1981 ongoing 37 years  United States Placed in solitary confinement after pleading guilty to murdering John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
Thomas Silverstein 1983 ongoing 35 years, 149 days  United States Called "America's most isolated man." Placed in solitary confinement for the murder of two inmates and a guard during a prison riot.
Robert Maudsley 1983 ongoing 34+ years  United Kingdom Serial killer imprisoned in 1977. Placed in a specially-built solitary cell after killing three other prisoners.
Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova 1768 1801 33 years  Russia Countess convicted of killing 38 female serfs by beating and torturing them to death. Imprisoned at Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow; for the first 11 years, she was chained in a basement dungeon without a window and only given a candle during meals.[26]
Man in the Iron Mask 1669? 1675 c. 29 years  France A mysterious prisoner kept in a solitary cell with double doors (to mute conversations) and forced to wear a black velvet mask at all times, following direct orders of Louis XIV. Much debate exists about the identity of the prisoner (variously called Marchioly or Eustache Dauger) and the reason of his confinement. After his death, myths arose claiming that the prisoner wore a full-headed iron mask, rather than velvet, and that two Musketeers of the Guard were posted with orders to shoot him if he removed it. The solitary spell was interrupted between 1675 and 1680, when the man in the mask served the also imprisoned Nicholas Fouquet, Marquis of Belle-Îlle as his valet.
1680 1703
Robert Hillary King 1972 2001 29 years  United States Placed in solitary confinement for the same murder as Woodfox and Wallace, until his original conviction was overturned.
Salvatore "Totò" Riina 1993 2017 24 years  Italy Reputed "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian maffia, nicknamed "The Beast". Believed to have ordered over 150 murders in Italy. Died in prison, aged 87.[27][28]
Ian Manuel 1993 2016 23 years  United States Tried as an adult and sentenced to life for non-fatally shooting a woman during a robbery, when he was 13 years-old. His sentence was reduced after it was ruled that imprisoning minors who had not killed anyone for life was unconstitutional. Released.[29][30]
Yolanda Saldívar 1995 ongoing 23 years  United States Found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez on March 31, 1995. Placed in solitary confinement after receiving numerous death threats from fellow inmates.
Leonora Christina Ulfeldt 1663 1685 22 years  Denmark Daughter of Christian IV of Denmark. Confined to a small cell in the Blue Tower of Copenhagen Castle by her brother, Frederick III, accused of treason. Released after 22 years by Christian V, she joined a convent where she died in 1698, aged 76.
Russell Melvin Shoats 1992 2014 22 years  United States Member of the Black Unity Council, Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of a police officer. Shoats spent his time in solitary in a 7-by-12 foot cell, always illuminated by lights, for 23 or 24 hours a day.
Luis Felipe 1997[31] ongoing 22 years, 34 days  United States Leader of the New York chapter of the Latin Kings. Convicted and placed in solitary confinement for ordering several murders when he was already in prison for other offenses.
Rudolf Hess 1966 1987 21 years  West Germany Became the only prisoner in Spandau Prison after all the others completed their sentences or were pardoned.
Clayton Fountain 1983 2004 21 years  United States Marine sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his staff sergeant in 1974, and placed in solitary after murdering three other prisoners and one corrections officer. Converted to Catholicism and was accepted as a lay brother of the Trappist monks posthumously.
Giovanni Passannante 1879 1899 20 years  Italy Attempted assassin of Umberto I of Italy. Locked in a dark, small cell below sea level in Portoferraio, Isle of Elba. His conditions became a scandal after they were revealed and he was moved to an asylum in Montelupo Fiorentino, where he died in 1910.
John T. Downey 1952 1973 20 years, 3 months and 14 days  China CIA agents captured in Manchuria after their plane was shot down by Chinese forces during the Korean War; the mission was part of a failed attempt to establish an anti-Communist guerrilla in mainland China. Released after the thaw of Chinese-American relations. There was a three-week break in their solitary confinement in 1955, when they were allowed to interact with the crew of a downed American B-29.[32]
Richard Fecteau 1971 19 years
Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin 1969 1988 19 years  Soviet Union Attempted assassin of Leonid Brezhnev. Released in 1990.
Clarence Carnes 1946 1963 17 years  United States Placed in solitary for his part in the "Battle of Alcatraz". The measure ended with the closing of the prison.
Christopher Scarver 1994 2010 16 years  United States Placed in solitary confinement for the double murder of Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson. All three men were serving life sentences for murder at the time of the crime.

Longest spells in death row[edit]

These prisoners were sentenced to death rather than prison, but their execution was stalled for a prolongued time due to different reasons.

Name Sentence start Sentence end Sentence duration Country Description
Iwao Hakamada 1968 2014 46 years  Japan Granted a retrial and found innocent after it was determined that the evidence used to convict him the first time was forged.
Richard Gerald Jordan 1977 ongoing 42 years, 45 days  United States Sentenced to death for the abduction and murder of a woman in Mississippi.[33]
Raymond Riles 1978 ongoing 40+ years  United States Longest held prisoner in death row in Texas. His execution was stayed several times since 1980, for different reasons. He was later diagnosed with mental problems and is as a result considered not mentally fit to be executed, but won't be moved out of death row either.
Gary Alvord 1973 2013 39 years  United States Schizophrenic sentenced to death in Florida for the murder of three women over the price of one game of pool. Died of a brain tumor after several delays.
Douglas Stankewitz 1980 ongoing 38 years  United States Oldest death row inmate at California's San Quentin State Prison, a member of the Mono nation sentenced to death for the abduction and murder of a 22-year-old woman. Retried twice and sentenced to death on both occasions.[34][35]
Lawrence Bittaker March 24, 1981 ongoing 37 years, 361 days  United States One of the two "Toolbox Killers" who kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered five teenage girls in southern California during a period of five months in 1979. Currently held in death row at San Quentin. His partner in crime, Roy Norris, was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole after 30 years in exchange for testifying against Bittaker.
Sadamichi Hirasawa 1950 1987 37 years  Japan Confessed under torture to have committed the Teikoku Bank Incident of 1948, a mass poisoning of Imperial Bank employees that killed ten people. Hirasawa was never executed because no Justice Minister wanted to sign his death warrant, as all believed that he had been falsely charged. However, he wasn't granted a retrial either, and he was still in death row when he died from pneumonia in 1987.
Brandon Astor Jones 1979 2016 37 years  United States Sentenced to death for his involvement in the felony murder of a convenience store manager in Georgia. Was retried and sentenced to death again in 1997 because the jurors at the first trial had brought a Bible into the deliberation room. Oldest prisoner in Georgia at the time of his execution, aged 72.
Albert Greenwood Brown February 3, 1982 ongoing 37 years, 18 days  United States Pedophile who abducted and murdered a 15-year-old on her way to school while being on parole for molesting another girl in California. Brown was scheduled for execution on September 30, 2010, but it was put on hold due to lethal injection supplies being unavailable at the time.
Tomiyama Tsuneki 1967 2003 36 years  Japan Died of kidney failure in prison, at the age of 86.[36]
David Earl Miller 1981 December 6, 2018 36 years  United States Sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of 23-year-old intellectually disabled woman, Lee Standifer. Miller was executed by electric chair in December 2018. He was Tennessee's longest serving death row inmate.[37]
Doug Clark March 24, 1983 ongoing 35 years, 361 days  United States One of the couple known as the "Sunset Strip Killers", who raped and murdered six women in Los Angeles during the summer of 1980. His partner, Carol M. Bundy, died in prison in 2003.
Michael Morales June 30, 1983 ongoing 35 years, 263 days  United States Raped and murdered a 17-year-old girl who was in a love triangle with Morales's cousin and another man in California; his cousin was sentenced to life in prison as inductor. Though Morales did not deny his guilt, doubts about the evidence presented in his trial mounted as his scheduled execution for February 26, 2006 came near. The execution was postponed indefinitely due to medical professionals refusing to participate in executions, as their presence is obligatory under California law.
Sakae Menda 1949 1983 34 years  Japan After being arrested for stealing rice, Menda was tortured until he confessed to the murders of a Buddhist priest and his wife, which he did not commit. He was not represented by a lawyer, no physical evidence linking Menda to the murders was ever produced, and the testimony of witnesses backing his alibi was deliberately kept out of his trial. In 1979 he was granted a retrial and in 1983 he was acquitted, becoming the first person in the History of Japan to be released from death row.
Edward Harold Schad 1979 2013 34 years  United States Oldest prisoner in Arizona death row at the time of his execution by lethal injection, aged 71. Sentenced to death for the murder and robbery of a 74-year-old man in 1978, while he was in parole for another murder ten years prior.[38][39]
Kevin Cooper 21 May 1985 ongoing 33 years, 303 days  United States Career burglar sentenced to death for the murders of four members of the same family and attempted murder of two others during a home invasion in Chino Hills, California in 1983, shortly after he escaped from prison. Cooper was scheduled for execution on February 10, 2004, but it was postponed to allow DNA testing of the crime scene and getaway vehicle that did not exist at the time of his conviction. The results of both tests supported the case against Cooper.
Jack Alderman June 14, 1975 September 16, 2008 33 years  United States Murdered his wife with a wrench in Georgia. Executed by lethal injection.
Tiequon Cox May 7, 1986 ongoing 32 years, 317 days  United States Member of the Crips sentenced to death for the hired mass murder of five relatives of former NFL player Kermit Alexander in their home. Cox was 18 at the time of the crimes.
Robert Brian Waterhouse 1980 2012 32 years  United States Murdered and mutilated a woman in Florida while he was on parole from a life sentence for murder.[40]
Henry McCollum 1983 2014 31 years  United States Longest serving death row inmate in North Carolina. Sentenced for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, while his half-brother was sentenced to life in prison. Both men were exonerated by DNA and released.[41]
David Carpenter May 10, 1988 ongoing 30 years, 314 days  United States Known as the "Trailside Killer", killed at least ten hikers and attacked another one in state parks near San Francisco. He was attributed a 1979 murder after a DNA match in December 2009.
Ronald Gray June 29, 1988 ongoing 30 years, 264 days  United States Convict held for the longest time ever on the US Military death row, a serial rapist and murderer who committed his crimes while stationed in Fort Bragg as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "PHILLIPS, JOHN PHILLIPS Inmate 0322466: North Carolina Prisons (DOC)".
  3. ^ a b "Nation's Oldest Juvenile Lifer Refuses Parole, Will Appeal New Sentence". 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  4. ^ "Juvenile lifer, 79, rejects deal for parole. 'His view is: He's been in long enough'".
  5. ^ "Man free at last after 64 years in prison".
  6. ^ "Death Row Stories: Life In The Iowa State Penitentiary At Fort Madison (1956) -".
  7. ^
  8. ^ Collins, Tom. "Weger narrowly denied parole". La Salle (Illinois) News Tribune.
  9. ^ ODMP memorial G.O. Thompson
  10. ^ ODMP Jeff Goff
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Other sources[edit]