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May 23, 2019

Florida board considering whether to give ‘White Boy Rick’ early release

March 13, 2019
This undated photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections, shows Richard Wershe Jr. before he was released on parole in 2017. (AP)

After spending three decades and the majority of his adult life in prison, Richard Wershe, Jr. could soon be released following a clemency hearing in Florida on Wednesday.

Wershe, also known as “White Boy Rick” — whose story inspired a 2018 movie featuring Matthew McConaughey — first made a name for himself at 14, when he began serving as the FBI’s youngest informant. Once his role no longer served a purpose for the feds, Wershe moved into drug trafficking and was arrested in 1987 at 18 years old.


“Rick,” now 49, made headlines when he was convicted of Possession with Intent to Deliver Over 650 Grams of cocaine and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. Spending the first 30 years of his sentence in his home state of Michigan, Wershe, the state’s longest-serving non-violent felon, was unanimously granted parole in 2017.

Wershe is currently serving a five-year sentence in Florida for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering that began after his Michigan release.

The 2018 film “White Boy Rick” stars Richie Merritt in the lead role opposite McConaughey as Richard Wershe Sr.

A spokesperson for the Florida Commission on Offender Review told The Daily News, “The board voted to take it under advisement.” The ultimate decision will follow an independent vote, which will not be televised. Though subject to vary, turnaround with the last administration averaged one day.

As of December 2018, Wershe’s expected release date was moved up and is now scheduled for November 25, 2020. Depending on how the clemency board votes, this date could move up significantly.

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