RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Another man sitting in prison on a life sentence for second-degree murder could be granted parole.
Bruce H. Harper, who was convicted and sentenced in 1993 in Guilford County Superior Court, will be considered for parole, the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced Monday.
Harper is just the latest in a series of felons sentenced to life before 1994 who are getting a new lease on life outside of prison.
You may recall that on Oct. 1, 1994, the North Carolina statute on sentencing structure changed to prohibit parole for some crimes. But the parole commission reviews cases that were sentenced before that date.
Harper’s conviction was barely a year earlier, and he has served nearly 29 years – since Aug. 18, 1993 – on the second-degree murder charge. Searches of various databases did not provide details of the crime for which he was convicted other than the court data in his file.
This process is carried out under a program called the Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which requires inmates to complete academic and vocational training in exchange for consideration of parole. Those being considered must not be held in maximum custody or under a detainer, and they must be infraction free for at least 90 days.
The parole board will conduct an investigation of Harper’s record and take testimony from the public. A decision will be announced within 10 days after that investigation is completed.
Harper, now 59, was 30 years old when he was sentenced, but before that he had a long penal record that included previous stints behind bars for felonies, three times related to assaulting a female:
- In 1988-1991 he served little more than 3 years on sentences of 10 years and 5 months on a series of merged charges that included two counts of assault on a female, one of pointing a gun at her and trespassing related to that from a case in 1988.
- The year before that he had been on probation for assaulting a female.
- In 1983-84 he served 5 months of a 1-year sentence for larceny.
- In 1981-82 he served about 8 months on a 2-year sentence for assault on a female and breaking-and-entering.
- In 1981 he was on probation for two counts of receiving stolen goods, assault on a female and misdemeanor breaking-and-entering.
- In 1980 he served 90 days for assaulting a female and for breaking and entering.
Harper since May has been housed at Tabor Correctional Institute in Tabor City, which is in Columbus County, but in his nearly three decades he has been charged with 39 rules infractions, although none since January 2016.
Those infractions include various instances of fighting, profanity, threats, disobeying orders, substance possession and even unauthorized leave (which that doesn’t say “escape”). There are eight violations for “sexual act.”
The parole commission didn’t say in this release if or when there would be a hearing, but its release suggested that if there is a need for more information to call 919-716-3010.