Father Edward Markley, the Benedictine monk who was sentenced to five years in prison after he smashed suction equipment in an abortion facility in Birmingham, Alabama, has been released after serving only a little more than a year of the sentence.

Scott Hauser, the director of Birmingham’s 1,000 for Life and Abortion Watch, told The Wanderer that local pro-lifers were “a little surprised, but extremely pleased” with the early release.  Hauser credited Markley’s exemplary behaviour while in prison, and a pro-life letter writing campaign to the Parole Board, as reasons for the decision.

Hauser pointed out that “parole oversight” will be maintained over Father Markley but that only pertains to “unlawful activity at abortion clinics” and not to demonstrating.

In was a probation violation that led to Father Markley’s imprisonment.  After he used the sledge hammer on the suction equipment at the Birmingham Women’s Medical Clinic, Father Markley was given probation on the condition that he remain at least 500 years distant from any abortion facility in the country.

Father Markley, however, participated in a January 1986 memorial march which moved past two Birmingham abortion facilities, including the one where he had been arrested.  On this release, Father Markley promised to continue his pro-life activity.  He “refused to apologize” for the sledge hammer incident, but said that “on orders from his superiors he would not engage in any more destruction of property.”