After 42 years in prison, plea agreement bringing freedom

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans man who has spent two-thirds of his life in prison for a murder he always denied committing has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will be released.

Since his arrest in 1977, Elvis Brooks of New Orleans has maintained that he's innocent.

Advocates from the Innocence Project-New Orleans say evidence that would have cleared him was withheld at trial.

Brooks said Tuesday that prosecutors offered the plea bargain while he was with his lawyers Thursday, preparing for a hearing on that claim. After pleading guilty Tuesday to manslaughter and armed robbery, the 62-year-old man told reporters that he's been locked up since 1977 and wants his freedom.

He had to return to prison for processing. An Innocence Project-New Orleans spokeswoman said he probably would be released Wednesday.