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African American in Prison

Source: Doug Berry / Getty

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Curtis Jones, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for carrying out a murder with his 13-year-old sister in 1999, was released from prison Tuesday.

Curtis — then 12 — and Catherine Jones were arrested after they hatched a plot to kill a male relative they claimed had been sexually abusing them. They were both charged as adults. Curtis is the nation’s youngest convicted murderer.

They planned to kill their father and his girlfriend, Sonya Nicole Speights, because they felt their cries for help were being ignored. They found themselves alone at home with Speights and decided to kill her first. But after shooting her, they panicked and ran off into woods near their Port St. John, Fla., home, where they were apprehended the following morning.

Curtis Jones, now 29, was released from the South Bay Correctional Facility just south of Lake Okeechobee at 7 a.m.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Curtis had not been disciplined for any rule infractions since 2008. Curtis is now an ordained minister.

Catherine Jones is scheduled to be released from Hernando Correctional Institution in a couple of weeks.

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