By Staff

BROCKTON (CBS) — The family William Allen, a Brockton man who had his first degree murder conviction commuted by Gov. Charlie Baker this week, expressed his gratitude on Thursday for the state’s actions.

Allen was convicted back in 1994 and has spent more than half his life in prison. His father said Thursday he’s ready for the next chapter of his son’s life to begin.

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“You just don’t know how much in my heart right now that I feel for Will. You know, and the things that me and him are going to accomplish from this point on, and things that he’s going to accomplish,” said Allen’s father.

The eight members of the Governor’s council still need to approve Allen’s commutation. If that happens, Allen would be eligible for a parole hearing and then could be released.

Baker announced the commutations Wednesday for Allen and Thomas Koonce.

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The Governor said he spent months weighing the circumstances, writing in a statement, “I believe both men, having taken responsibility for their actions and paid their debt to the Commonwealth by serving sentences longer than most individuals found guilty of similar actions, deserve the right to seek parole from prison.”

Allen, who is now 48, served 27 years in prison for his role in the 1994 murder of Purvis Bester. His co-defendant stabbed the victim to death. That co-defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was released in 2011.

His attorney, Kristine McDonald, said while Allen admits to being involved in the robbery, he wasn’t the killer and deserves a second chance.

“I really believe taking this step, Governor Baker has really advanced the cause of justice in Massachusetts,” said McDonald.

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Koonce has served 30 years in prison for the 1987 murder of Mark Santos. Staff