A 117-year old man from Texas was liberated from prison this morning after outliving a 99-year sentence, becoming the first prisoner to do so in the history of the United States.
Grandson of one the most famous horse thief in American history, Henry William Borne was arrested by the Texas Rangers in 1919 for being part of in an important horse-stealing ring.
Borne, his father and seven other accomplices were accused of stealing over 7,000 horses and mules, including a lot of 1,735 horses destined to the American military effort in the first World War.
The eight others were sentenced to death and hanged in 1920, while Borne, who was underage when the crimes were committed, was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Unexpectedly, the Amarillo native actually survived his sentence, which was spent in a total of 11 different detention centers.
He was liberated this morning from the Central Unit Prison, in Sugar Land, after spending almost an entire century behind bars.
Visibly emotional, Mr. Borne expressed his worries about adapting to life in the 21st Century.
“I saw a few cars once as a kid when I went to Dallas. I’ve been watching TV and I know they’re now everywhere, but I’ll have to get used to it.”
Despite his long incarceration, the 117-year old man also fears he could have difficulty adapting to a life without crime.
“All I’ve ever been outside prison is a horse thief. That’s the only thing I was good at. I bet I’d still be better than most of today’s horse thieves, even at my age.”
Despite his fears, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice considers there is a “very low risk” that he will resume his life of crime.
In fact, the number of horse theft has constantly dropped over the last century and the use of identification microchips over recent years has made such crimes much easier to solve.
Punishment for horse theft can still be severe, as one woman in Arkansas was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 2011 theft of five horses.