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Cancer-Ridden Inmate Sent Back to Prison After Family Outcry

December 20, 1985

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A murderer with terminal lung cancer was back in prison Thursday after his furlough to die at home was revoked by the state’s corrections chief.

Henry Douglas Gentry, 47, was released Dec. 10 from the Tennessee State Prison. Warden Mike Dutton allowed him to go to his mother’s home in suburban Madison because he is ″in imminent peril of death,″ said John Taylor, a correction department spokesman.

″Commissioner Steve Norris has personally remanded the furlough,″ Taylor said.

Gentry was sentenced to life in prison three years ago for the Jan. 4, 1982, murder of 42-year-old Eunice Diane Castleman, who was shot twice in the chest with a .38-caliber pistol at her home in Greenbrier, about 15 miles north of Madison.

Taylor said Gentry was taken from his mother’s home Wednesday and returned to prison after the Castleman family and others called the commissioner to express outrage over the decision to release him.

″He realized what emotional trauma Castleman’s family was going through because of the release,″ said Taylor.

Carolyn Neal, the victim’s sister, said she was happy Gentry was back behind bars.

″Please don’t make me sound cold and heartless just because we’re glad he’s back in prison,″ said Ms. Neal, of Madison. ″It’s just that he has put our family through such a horrible time in our lives.″

Ms. Castleman’s daughter, Lynne Boone, 25, also said Gentry should not have been freed. Trial testimony showed Gentry pointed a gun at Ms. Boone after telling her he just killed her mother and then locked her into a closet before fleeing.

″I want to see him serve his sentence, and if that means he dies behind bars, that’s what I want,″ Ms. Boone said.

In an interview Monday at his mother’s home, Gentry said a walk to the mailbox and back to the house caused him to be short of breath.

″I just want to live the rest of my life in peace and contentment with my family,″ he said. ″I just want to die at home.″

His mother, Pearl Gentry, said Ms. Castleman’s family has no cause to be afraid of her son.

″He can’t even get out of the house,″ she said. ″Douglas is not going to hurt anybody. ... He’s got cancer and he’s not going to live long.″

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