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Wilbert Rideau’s Quest for Freedom (1985)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1985-01-20

Duration: 00:08:10

Subjects: Rideau, Wilbert | Louisiana State Penitentiary | PRISONERS | Prisons


  • Hinton, Rob Host
  • Semien, Gladys Speaker
  • Tarleton, Sam Speaker
  • Bryant, Rick Speaker
  • Marsellus, Howard Interviewee


This segment from the January 20, 1985, episode of the series “Folks” features Rob Hinton’s report on the state pardon board hearing for Wilbert Rideau, the co-editor of “The Angolite,” the award-winning prison magazine at Angola. Rideau is serving a life sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary for the 1961 murder of a Lake Charles bank teller. Hinton reports that the pardon board voted unanimously to recommend the commutation of Rideau’s sentence from life to time served, but Governor Edwin Edwards decided not to free Rideau. His report includes: Gladys Semien, Rideau’s mother speaking in favor of his release; Sam Tarleton, a Lake Charles journalist, speaking against Rideau’s release; Rick Bryant of the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office reading a statement from a victim of the bank robbery; and an interview with Howard Marsellus, the chairman of the pardon board, on his decision to vote for the commutation.