'Every human being deserves to be forgiven and deserves a second chance’: Parole possible for Albany man in re-sentencing

Man sentenced to life in prison may have second chance at freedom

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A second chance at freedom could come to an Albany man after spending more than 20 years in jail after his murder conviction in 1998.

Otis Daniels was 16 at the time and sentenced to life without parole.

A supreme court ruling finds sentencing a minor to life without the chance of parole is unconstitutional. They said that is what happened in Daniel’s case.

The A&E Network did a documentary on the story as part of its “Kids Behind Bars” series.

Now his re-sentencing could change his fate, but there are still other factors to be considered.

While in chains, words like possible or hope can mean the world for inmates. But at what cost?

“Every human being deserves to be forgiven and deserves a second chance,” said Phil Cannon, who was the defense attorney for the then 16-year-old Daniels.

Phil Cannon. (Source: WALB)
Phil Cannon. (Source: WALB)

Daniels was sentenced to life without parole on multiple charges.

“The first time I laid eyes on Otis, he was just a boy, he was a child. I have to accept that Otis killed a lady and I have to accept that he left a lady disfigured permanently," Cannon explained.

Cannon said this was a death penalty case, that the state was pushing for.

“That was not about getting Otis out of it, that was about saving Otis’ life,” Cannon said.

When the US Supreme Court in 2012 ruled it unconstitutional to sentence minors to life without parole, Daniels’ chances at freedom grew.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said the state was required to review his case.

Greg Edwards (Source: WALB)
Greg Edwards (Source: WALB)

“There were different standards for when you become eligible for parole than there are now,” said Edwards.

Edwards said Daniels will get credit for the time he’s served.

“Forty-five years is what we are looking at in terms of his eligibility for three consecutive life sentences,” said Edwards.

The parole board will consider many factors in their evaluation.

“I was glad that people like Otis, in general, would at least have the opportunity to come back and ask,” said Cannon.

Cannon also said Daniels and others at least deserve that chance.

Edwards said just because there is a possibility of parole doesn’t mean he will be paroled.

The parole board will consider factors like an inmates behavior behind bars as well.

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