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Convicted Murderer Thomas Koonce Released From Prison

BOSTON (CBS) - Thomas Koonce, who was sentenced to life in prison for murder, has been freed.

Koonce, a former United States Marine, has served more than 30 years in prison for the 1987 murder of Mark Santos in New Bedford.

In January, Governor Charlie Baker commuted his sentence. When the 54-year-old addressed the Governor's Council, who voted on the commutation, he said, "At this time, I would like to state that I am fully responsible for shooting and killing Mr. Mark Santos," Koonce said. "I take full responsibility for taking his life the morning of July 21, 1987. My life will be forever dedicated to giving back to society for taking this young man's life. Mr. Santos deserved to live his life to the fullest, and I am responsible for his death. I am sorry."

Koonce will spend the next four months in a transitional home.

William Allen, who also had his sentence commuted by the governor in January, will also be released after a vote of the state's Parole Board. Allen served 27 years in prison for his role in a 1994 robbery where a man was stabbed to death.

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