Playwright with AIDS released from prisonBALTIMORE --...


Playwright with AIDS released from prison

BALTIMORE -- Harry Buck Johnson Jr., who wrote a prize-winning play from his cell and who has AIDS, was released yesterday from the Maryland Penitentiary after Gov. William Donald Schaefer commuted his 35-year sentence for assault with intent to murder. He spent nine years in jail.

"I'm very grateful to all my friends and supporters in their endeavors," Johnson, 46, said about his release. "It took a lot of courage for Gov. Schaefer to do what he did."

More than 60 citizens and community leaders petitioned the governor to commute Johnson's sentence. Johnson's writings attracted their attention when he won the WMAR-TV Drama Competition for Black Playwrights last year. He has published essays and stories in The Evening Sun.

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