Parole denied for Michael Mayola, Alabama’s longest-serving inmate

Parole denied for Alabama’s longest-serving inmate

An Alabama inmate who has served more than 58 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of an 11-year-old boy was denied parole Wednesday.

Michael Anthony Mayola, who was convicted in the 1962 murder of 11-year-old Larry Wayne Thomas, is Alabama’s longest-serving prison inmate. He has served 58 years, two months and six days in prison, AL.com reported. Mayola, 87, is serving a life sentence at Easterling Correctional Facility in Barbour County.

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Mayola was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on Nov. 15, 1962, according to court records.

In December, Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey posted a plea on Facebook, urging the public to write letters to the parole board objecting to Mayola’s release, AL.com reported.

“Thank you for all who sent letters. They received hundreds. Never forget the victims. Never forget Larry,” Casey posted Thursday, according to AL.com.

Thomas, of Midfield, was a fifth-grader at Midfield Elementary School. On Aug. 2, 1962, the boy was kidnapped after watching a Little League baseball practice, according to court records. Thomas was lured into a car by a man who promised him and fellow 11-year-old Kim Canady a soft drink from a nearby Fairfield drugstore.

Canady was sent into the store to get the drink, and Mayola drove away, according to reports.

Five days later, Thomas’ body was discovered wrapped in a blanket in a shallow grave behind Mayola’s cabin outside the rural town of Oneonta.

Mayola, who had been operating a barbershop in Oneonta under the name of George R. Workman, walked into the Baltimore office of FBI agent Russell E. Vorpagle and surrendered the same day Thomas’ body was found, AL.com reported.

“I dozed off a few times. And in the early morning, while he was still asleep, I took a .22 caliber revolver from under my pillow and shot him. I tried to make it as painless as possible,” Mayola told Vorpagle, according to court records. “I looked around and pulled the trigger.”

According to the FBI, Mayola had come to Alabama from Maryland, where he had been convicted of sodomy in Montgomery County in 1955. Mayola was sentenced to two years in prison but was paroled in 1956, according to a report in The Baltimore Evening Sun.

“I ask you not to turn this man loose back on society,” Gerald Swann, one of Mayola’s four court-appointed defense attorneys, told the Blount County jury the day before the conviction, according to The Birmingham News. “If ever a man was made or insane, it was Michael Anthony Mayola.

“He is not a raving maniac but a man mentally sick without power to control emotions.”

A jury deliberated nine hours before returning a guilty verdict.

In 2003, Mayola waived his right to a parole hearing, The Gadsden Times reported.

“Just the mention of his name still evokes the same kind of passion in many Blount Countians who remember those hot August days when they were afraid to let their children play outside,” the newspaper reported.

In 1963, Canady was part of the Midfield All-Stars team that won the Dixie Youth World Series, according to the Midfield Chamber of Commerce. The following year, a baseball field in Midfield was opened and named in Thomas’ honor, according to the Chamber website.