The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced Friday that it voted to release Buice, one of 10 men who attacked Broussard outside a gay bar in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood.
Buice, then 17 and now 37, was the knife-man who inflicted the deadly wounds, and he received the longest sentence, 45 years.
Seven years before Matthew Shepard’s murder, Broussard’s was one of the earliest anti-gay hate crimes to generate national media attention and it led to Texas’ first hate-crimes law.
Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, has been fighting to keep Buice behind bars, saying he should serve at least 27 years, the length of her son’s life.
According to Fox 26, the parole board pointed to Broussard’s good behavior behind bars, where he’s earned two college degrees, as well as the fact that he was only 17 at the time of the crime.
Buice has expressed remorse, issuing a letter of apology in 1999 that was printed in the Houston Voice, then the city’s LGBT paper. Buice said he decided to write the letter after hearing the story of Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was savagely murdered in 1998.
“The gay and lesbian community of Houston I owe a momentous apology, a repentance for an act of atrocity,” the letter stated in part. “If it were possible, I would sacrifice my own life to bring Paul back.”