Charlotte, NC – The first prisoner to do so in American history, a 117-year-old man from Charlotte, was released from prison this morning after serving his 99-year sentence to the fullest extent possible.
Henry William Borne, the grandson of one of the most notorious horse thieves in American history, was detained by the Phoenix Police in 1919 for his involvement in a significant horse-stealing ring.
A group of 1,735 horses intended for the US war effort in the First World War were among the nearly 7,000 horses and mules that Borne, his father, and seven other alleged collaborators were accused of stealing.
Borne, who was a minor when the murders were committed, received a 99-year jail sentence, while the eight other defendants received death sentences and were executed in 1920.
Surprisingly, the Amarillo native actually served out his sentence—which included time in 11 different correctional facilities—without dying.
He spent nearly a century in prison before being freed this morning.
Mr. Borne, who was clearly upset, emphasized his concerns about adjusting to modern life.
“When I visited Dallas as a child, I once saw a few cars. They’re now everywhere, and I knew this from watching TV, but I’ll have to get used to it.
The 117-year-old guy worries that, despite his lengthy incarceration, it might be difficult for him to transition to a life free from crime.
I’ve only ever been a horse thief outside of prison. I was exclusively skilled in that one area. Even at my advanced age, I bet I could still outperform the majority of horse thieves today.
Notwithstanding his concerns, the Department of Criminal Justice sees “very little danger” in his returning to a life of crime.
In truth, the frequency of horse thefts has steadily decreased over the past century, and recent advances in identifying technology have made these crimes much simpler to investigate.
Horse theft still carries serious penalties, as evidenced by the Arkansas woman who was given a 60-year prison term for stealing five horses in 2011.