Man who once told Illinois board to ‘hustle’ gets parole

CHICAGO (AP) — A man convicted of a 1968 gang-related murder in Chicago who once told members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to “hustle” has been granted parole.

Namor Smith, 74, was granted parole on Thursday by the commission after a 12-3 vote.

At Smith’s last previous hearing in 2019, the board voted 3-10 against his release, and a decade ago he told the board “you can take this parole case and push it” while using a swear word, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Smith, a former member of the Blackstone Rangers gang, was convicted of the fatal 1968 shooting of 21-year-old Sterling Burnett in Chicago’s South End.

Authorities said Smith and other gang members confronted Burnett because he was not part of their gang. A gang member punched Burnett, who was dragged into an alley and shot and killed.

One of Smith’s co-defendants in Burnett’s murder was paroled in 2001, while the other served a 20-30 year sentence.

Smith was serving 50 to 100 years in prison for murder, plus eight more years for wounding an inmate with a homemade knife in 1987.

Officials said he admitted killing Burnett, saying he was part of a rival gang. But in a 2019 interview with a parole board member, Smith said he was an accomplice but not the shooter.

Smith had previously been paroled in 2004, but was returned to prison to complete his sentence in 2007 for violating his parole conditions.

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