Bremer Will Be Released From Prison This Year

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 23, 2007; 1:30 PM

Arthur Bremer, the man who attempted to assassinate Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace during his 1972 presidential campaign will be released later this year, Maryland corrections officials confirmed today.

The candidate was 52 years old on that May afternoon in Maryland -- 52 and surging in his third bid for the nomination, having won three Democratic primaries and expected to win in Maryland and Michigan.

Surrounded by a boisterous crowd of about 2,000 in the parking lot of the Laurel Shopping Center, Wallace had just concluded his remarks when a young blond-haired man in opaque sunglasses and dressed in red, white and blue shot him at close range, "the little black gun exploding like a birthday-party favor," Time magazine reported. Three persons traveling with the governor also were wounded.

From that day in 1972 when the bullets entered his chest and stomach -- one lodging near his spine -- until the day he died 26 years later, Wallace was paralyzed in both legs, lived in constant pain and suffered a variety of maladies as a result of his injuries.

Bremer, who had been stalking the candidate for weeks, was a 21-year-old loner from Milwaukee. Rejecting his insanity defense, a Prince George's County jury sentenced him to 53 years in prison.

He is scheduled to walk out of the Maryland Correctional Institute at Hagerstown in December, after serving 35 years of his sentence. A case management manager, Leonard Vaughan, said that Bremer is to be released under a state program that reduces the prison time for inmates who have a prison job and maintain good behavior.

Bremer, a clerk in the prison, could be released sooner, Vaughan said, since he earns more days off his sentence each month. He's been an inmate at the Hagerstown facility since 1979.

Details about where Bremer will live after his release were not available, although he will be required to check in regularly with a pardons and parole officer until the end of his sentence, May 15, 2025.

Thirty-five years ago he was a bus boy at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. In a diary he kept leading up to his attempted assassination of Wallace, he wrote that President Richard Nixon had been his initial target before he shifted his focus to the Alabama governor, whose outspoken views on racial integration made him one of America's most controversial political figures.

"It's worth death or a long trial and life in prison," Bremer wrote in the diary. "Life outside ain't so hot. I want to do something bold and dramatic, forcefull [sic] and dynamic. A statement of my manhood for the world to see."

Bremer came up for parole periodically, beginning in 1985; Wallace said he was not opposed to his assailant going free. In 1995, he wrote a letter to Bremer, saying that he had forgiven him and that he hoped the two could meet. Bremer never responded, never expressed remorse.

Two years later, shortly before Wallace's death, Bremer argued in an appeal for parole that he should be released from prison because Wallace and other segregationist politicians were "dinosaurs."

"They are extinct, not endangered, by an act of God," Bremer wrote.

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