BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man caught on video killing his estranged wife may leave prison early to live with his sister in Las Vegas, the Louisiana Parole Board has decided.
The board voted unanimously Wednesday to release Anthony Knox, 59, of Leesville even though he denied killing Army Staff Sgt. Angela Knox, 32, in 1997 and said he was coerced into pleading guilty to manslaughter, the American Press reported.
Knox has served 24-and-a-half years of a 40-year sentence. Police said when he was arrested that a security camera showed him knocking her to the ground, then standing over her and shooting her point-blank in the head and chest.
He must keep taking psychiatric medications and regularly see mental health professionals in Nevada, the board said. All three members said they approved Knox’s early release largely because psychiatric professionals testified that he recently had requested a change from a daily pill to a bi-monthly injection.
After his arrest, Knox was placed in the state psychiatric hospital for defendants found mentally incompetent for trial, and later diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was found competent in 2001 and pleaded guilty in 2005 to manslaughter.
Knox said he did not have schizophrenia and had only been diagnosed with delusions.
And, he said, “I was abused and forced into a plea agreement under false charges.”
“Actually I’m not guilty of the crime,” he told the parole board. He said he was present but did not know what happened. Nobody mentioned the security footage, the newspaper reported.
Mental health professionals testified they considered Knox would do best in a group home in Louisiana, but Knox’s sister said she could care for him.
Board member Tony Marabella asked Knox if he would take his medication as prescribed and listen to mental health professionals as they diagnose and treat him, and Knox answered he would.
Arrest reports said Knox was served with divorce documents and a restraining order July 30, 1997, and followed her to a Walmart in Leesville two days later, waiting in his vehicle while she went in. When she began loading bags into her vehicle at 4:55 a.m., Knox came up from behind and hit her in the face with the pistol, authorities said.
Vernon Parish District Attorney Terry Lambright wrote to the parole board in January, strongly opposing Knox’s request for release.
“Our state should not be releasing individuals that intentionally kill another person, except in very exceptional cases. This case is not exceptional. Anthony Knox should have remained in prison to serve his prison sentence,” Lambright told the newspaper Wednesday.