The longest serving female inmate in the United States has been released from prison.
Betty Smithey has spent the past 49 years – or two-thirds of her life – behind bars after she was convicted of murdering a toddler in 1963, the Arizona Republic reported.
The 69-year-old was granted parole by the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency on Monday, ABC News reported.
According to Fox News, Smithey walked out of the Perryville State Prison later that day with the aid of a cane.
"It's wonderful driving down the road and not seeing any barbed wire," Smithey was quoted as saying.
"I am lucky, so very lucky.
"Like I told the (parole) board, I know it's going to be a big adjustment, but I'll take it and I'll make good.”
USA Today said members of the parole board voted 4-1 to discharge Smithey from prison and free her from community supervision, noting that she was no longer the "troubled woman" who murdered 15-month-old Sandy Gerberick on New Year’s Day 1963.
Smithey was the family’s live-in babysitter and had "psychotic tendencies," according to Fox.
"I really see no value in keeping you in prison any longer. I really see no value in keeping strings on you any longer," Parole Board Chairman and Director Jesse Hernandez was quoted as saying.
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