RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – David Ray Allman, who once sneaked out of a prison in North Carolina only to find himself apprehended and incarcerated in Kentucky, received an early Easter present.

On April 5, the Wednesday before the holiday, Allman was released from prison after spending more than 41 years behind bars in North Carolina and having been incarcerated overall for more than half a century.

David Ray Allman was sentenced to life on burglary charges in Guilford County. He also served terms for various crimes in Kentucky. (KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS)

His release was announced Monday in an email from the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, which considers for release inmates serving life for crimes committed before Oct. 1, 1994, when state sentencing law changed. But his case is a little different.

Allman, now 81, had been serving life plus 30 years for an armed robbery committed in June 1981 in Guilford County, which is an unusually long sentence for armed robbery. Life typically is a sentence reserved for those convicted of first- and second-degree murder or rape or combinations of crimes.

He is the first inmate from the Piedmont Triad recently considered for parole for a pre-1994 crime who wasn’t convicted of murder or rape.

Armed robbery in North Carolina is considered a Class D felony, and a sentence could range up to 204 months in prison. That could be expanded if the accused has a long criminal record, but Allman’s criminal profile in North Carolina includes no sentence before 1981, when he was nearly 40 years old.

That’s not the whole story about a life devoted to numerous crimes in at least two states.

Allman, who is from Roanoke, Virginia, was convicted on Dec. 3, 1981, in Guilford County Superior Court for armed robbery and received a life sentence with a 30-year minimum.

Then on Jan. 28, 1982, he received the second life sentence for armed robbery on Dec. 3, 1981. That was to be served consecutively, meaning to follow the original life sentence.

Jumping to brief freedom

During that time, though, in May 1991, Allman escaped from the Piedmont Correctional Institute in Salisbury, the News & Record reported. And then he was caught, arrested and sentenced to prison in Kentucky, where he was no stranger to crime.

A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the newspaper that Allman, who was in the second-highest level of custody, on May 5 had created a makeshift rope and a grappling hook to climb to the roof of the gymnasium and then crossed to the administration building, where he jumped 10 or 15 feet outside the prison walls.

This sparked a massive manhunt of about 70 officers, the spokesperson said, but about a month later, on June 10, 1991, Allman was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, and charged with possession of a handgun by a felon, first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree being a persistent felony offender.

Kentucky charges

The persistent offender charge in Kentucky was well-deserved. He had served at least six other prison terms in three counties, dating back to February 1969. All were related to theft and robbery.

On Feb. 7, 1992, he was sentenced to 10 years for the wanton endangerment charge and 4 years on the weapons charge.

A North Carolina Department of Corrections official confirmed to WGHP that Allman served his sentence in Kentucky, where he was paroled. In 2012, he was returned to custody in North Carolina to serve out his life sentence. With that release, Allman will be on probation in Kentucky until 2027.

Although he was convicted of neither crime, Allman was paroled under the program that emerged because North Carolina abolished parole in cases involving murder and rape as of Oct. 1, 1994. The commission is charged with considering parole for offenders who were sentenced under guidelines before that date. The commission sometimes seeks public comment on whether that parole should be granted.

Allman, who will serve probation until April 2028, did earn his release, the DPS’ statement said, through the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which is a scholastic and vocational process that is completed and reviewed in a three-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender. That process can take years to complete.

The MAPP program

To be approved for release under MAPP, an inmate must show a desire to improve educational and training programs and a self-improvement process. There is a 3-year walk-up to release that, the MAPP website states, requires the inmate:

  • To be in medium or minimum custody.
  • Not to be subject to a detainer or pending court action that could result in further confinement.
  • To be infraction-free for a period of 90 days before being recommended.
  • If sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act, to be eligible for 270-day parole or community-service parole.

The program also stipulates that “there should be a recognizable need on the part of the inmate for involvement in the MAPP program and the inmate should express a desire to participate in improving educational achievements, learning skills, personal growth programs and modifying specific behavior.”

There were no listed infractions on Allman’s state profile, other than the escape, and he most recently was incarcerated at the Tyrrell Prison Work Farm in Columbia.

If you have questions concerning this matter, please feel free to contact the Commission at 919- 716–3010.