William Allen granted parole after 28 years in jail

One of two men whose murder sentence was commuted by Baker

THE PAROLD BOARD on Wednesday granted parole to William Allen, one of two men to have his first-degree murder sentence commuted by Gov. Charlie Baker earlier this year. 

After spending 28 years in jail, this is the final procedural step that will let Allen go free. 

“The board is of the opinion that Mr. Allen is rehabilitated and merits parole at this time,” the six-member board wrote in its unanimous decision. 

The decision comes one week after the board paroled the other man, Thomas Koonce. Koonce has since been released from custody. 

While Koonce was required to enter a residential reentry program for four months, the board wrote that Allen will be sent straight to an approved home plan. Like Koonce, Allen will be subject to a nightly curfew and will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He will have to abstain from alcohol and drugs and obtain mental health counseling.  

Baker commuted the sentences of both men from first to second-degree murder, which allows them to be released on parole. 

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Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Allen was involved in an armed robbery in 1994, and was in another room when his friend killed Purvis Bester. Allen was convicted of felony murder, in which someone who is involved in a crime that led to a murder, but does not actually commit the murder, is considered culpable. The man who killed Bester took a plea deal and was released on parole in 2011. 

The parole board wrote that in addition to taking responsibility for his crime, Allen participated in numerous rehabilitative programs while in prison. For example, he volunteered to act as a companion to help inmates with severe mental illness. The board wrote that he has a strong support network and reentry plan.