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Rest In Power, Shauntrice Murry

We are deeply saddened to announce that our friend and client Shauntrice Murry passed away on Friday from cancer. She was 45 years old.  

Our colleagues Atteeyah Hollie and Alicia Rabideau fought tirelessly for Ms. Murry. Last year, they requested a medical reprieve from the Parole Board, but were denied in October. The Board did not feel she was sick enough. In March, Ms. Murry’s oncologist gave her a prognosis of imminent death, and her legal team renewed their request for a medical reprieve. This time, they were successful and the Board granted relief. However, Ms. Murry remained in prison due to a law that requires a 90-day victim notification period prior to a person being paroled. This law is unconscionably cruel in the context of medical reprieves, and a prognosis like Ms. Murry’s. Given this setback, a request for an emergency commutation petition was submitted, which the Board denied several days later. Throughout this time, Ms. Murry’s family were prevented from seeing her, due to COVID-19.

Ms. Murry is loved deeply by women who were incarcerated with her; women in and outside of Lee Arrendale State Prison who stood by her and shared reports of her treatment during the last several months, countered the State’s narrative that she deserved to die alone in a prison infirmary, and put together a plea for her release, which you can read here. Here are some lovely words about Ms. Murry from her dear friend, Ms. Frieda Davis:

Knowing Shauntrice Murry has really been a great thing.  I’m 50 years old and never knew what a true friend was until I met Ms. Murry. When I got to LASP I was lost, confused, depressed, cause of the sentence I had just received.  Another inmate introduced me to her and told me she would be good to talk to.  At first things were bumpy with her cause she didn’t like to talk but making small talk was better than anything.  Then we started doing things together such as cooking, playing spades, and going to groups.  We practically did everything together.  After 8 ½ years I have seen a tremendous change in Ms. Murry, and she is caring and very helpful.  If I had the opportunity to talk to the Board I would beg them to allow Ms. Murry to go home and be in comfort for her remaining days — that way I could go to Macon and help see about her.  I have been here from the beginning and I will be there until the end.  I love this lady like my very own sister! 

And then there’s Ms. Murry. She held on as long as she could. She defied those who said she’d be dead by the end of March. She was strong, and at times optimistic about the possibility of going home. She was moved by the support she was getting from across the country. Despite the nonstop pain she was in, she wanted to know how her legal team and supporters were doing whenever they spoke. She showed compassion until the very end, even when it wasn’t reciprocated by state officials. 

The 90-day victim notification period would have expired this coming Thursday, June 18th. Arrangements were being made for her to be released. An ambulance was set up to take her to her family’s home, with hospice support from a local facility. But she did not make it, and died instead at Lee Arrendale State Prison.

In this sad time, we send our love and condolences to Ms. Murry’s family, who never got to say goodbye and now must face a burial — the costs of which have been graciously covered by donations from her supporters. We think of her friends and sisters inside and outside of prisons who are mourning. We hold close our friends and colleagues who fought so hard for her freedom and dignity as she faced death.

Ms. Murry’s fierce companionship, energy, and compassion will continue through her memory. Please keep her family, friends, and community of supporters in your thoughts.

In Ms. Murry’s memory, let us recommit to fighting against the cruelty and horror of this system as we uplift the humanity of all who are impacted by it.

Shauntrice Murry, Rest In Power.