RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Three men from the Piedmont Triad serving long prison sentences for various sex crimes are about to be released on parole.

John Alford of Forsyth County, James Allen of Guilford County and Anthony Taylor of Wilkes County will be released by the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, the latest in a series of releases for persons sentenced for crimes committed before Oct. 1, 1994.

Credit: txking/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The state’s formal announcements on Friday did not include specific release dates, but they did differentiate in the paths taken for these paroles, which include a litany of offenses for the three men that date back for five decades.

Alford had been serving an 80-year sentence from a conviction on April 24, 1978, for two counts of first-degree rape and seven related counts of armed robbery. His release is part of the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which is for criminals convicted of crimes before Oct. 1, 1994, when state statute ended parole.

But the others differ somewhat even if their dates are similar. And all three have many more charges on their records than the most recent convictions.

Taylor was serving a life sentence after being convicted on June 13, 1990, for rape of a child young than 13, two counts of first-degree sexual offense and two counts of first-degree indecent liberty with a child. But his release was not part of MAPP.

Allen was serving two consecutive 50-year sentences – essentially life – for second-degree rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon by a habitual felon and breaking and entering by a habitual felon after being convicted on Feb. 13, 1995, but he was released under the Oct. 1, 1994, limit because of when the crimes were committed (in August 1994).

These are at least the ninth inmates from the Piedmont Triad to be designated for or granted parole under pre-1994  programs in the past six months.

An original name

John H. Alford (NCDOR)

Alford, 74, who also is listed in the state’s prisoner database under the aliases “John H. Alford,” “Henry Alford,” “John Henry Alford” and “John Eyes, was part of the original list of 20 violent inmates cited when the NC Supreme Court ruled on the length of “life sentences.”

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Alford had pleaded guilty to raping employees of a flower shop, and he has served 44 years and 5-plus months since entering prison on April 24, 1978, for his 80-year stint on nine consolidated charges. He is a registered sex offender.

But that prison sentence also was linked to prior convictions. He was serving a concurrent sentence from May 1996 to December 2003 on two consolidated charges for armed robbery in July 1995, with his conviction entered in May 1996. On that date he also was given 5 years and 5 months – served consecutively from December 2003 to October 2007 – for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do serious injury.

In 1969 Alford was sentenced to 10 years for felony breaking and entering. He was scheduled to serve from May 1969 to September 1975, but that was extended by about four months because he was convicted twice – in 1970 and 1973 – for escape.

‘Youthful offender’

James Allen (NCDOR)

James Christopher Allen, 60, has a long history of incarceration on a variety of charges.

His longest previous stint was in 1991, when he served about 37 months of a 6-year sentence for felony breaking-and-entering and larceny of more than $200. He served nearly six months of a 2-year sentence in 1989-90 on two counts related to receiving stolen property, then served another month in 1994 because he had violated his probation on those charges. And he served concurrent sentences totaling about eight months in 1981-82 for convictions on three charges – larceny of a motor vehicle, tampering with a motor vehicle and two counts of larceny of more than $200 – that had earned him 38 months in jail. He also was listed as a “committed youthful offender.”

Parole violation

Anthony E. Taylor (NCDOR)

Anthony E. Taylor, 66, also received 8 years to be served concurrently with his life sentence for a conviction in February 1990 of conspiracy to sell a schedule II narcotic in Wilkes County, which was a violation of parole that was revoked in March 1990 following his indictment on the sex charges. He also had received a suspended sentence for carrying a concealed weapon and trespassing in September 1988.

The program

The state’s release says that MAPP is a “scholastic and vocational program” that is a 3-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender.

To be part of the MAPP program, 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.

Infractions

Allen was most recently held in the Davidson County Correctional facility, and he has eight infractions listed against him: a couple for fighting, one for disobeying an order and a few for possessing various types of contraband, including “excess stamps.” The last two were in July 2016 and included “unauthorized tobacco use.”

Currently held at Wilkes County Correctional, Taylor had 19 total violations, many of them related to contraband and medication, with the most recent in November 2020. He also misused the phone and mail privileges at least twice.

Most recently housed at Hyde Correctional, Alford has been charged with only three mild offenses, none since 1989.

The commission will accept your questions if you call 919-716-3010.