And when we say embarrassing, we mean He Should Never Work Again In The Newspaper Business embarrassing. Here’s the Clyde Giddens Bridges, whose square job is as a political reporter for the Baton Rouge Advocate, described in the Washington Post last May…
ANGOLA, La. — When he was young and strong, Clyde Giddens fought with a man and stabbed him to death, leading to a life sentence for murder. Fifty-five years later, Giddens, 76, uses a wheelchair and a hospital bed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, after breaking a hip and suffering a stroke.
He hoped a proposal to release old and sick violent offenders in Louisiana would allow him to live with his niece in Shreveport, La.
“I’m no longer a danger,” Giddens said last month at Angola, his voice barely above a whisper.
Apparently that’s what Giddens told Bridges was his crime. But that’s not what Giddens actually did to get himself put behind bars for life. KTBS-TV in Shreveport got the facts straight on that issue last week…
But in September 1963 — two months before Kennedy’s assassination — terror in Louisiana’s Red River Parish.
“He had cut the body up,” said Dennis Bamburg.
“The body” was Dennis Bamburg’s mother — Earlene. She was 36.
“He brutally dismembered her body and took some of her extremities with him when he left,” Red River Parish District Attorney Julie Jones as she reads from documents.
“Cut her arms and legs off,” said Dennis Bamburg.
“Then he sat down on a creek and cut meat from Mrs. Bamburg’s dismembered body parts to feed the dogs that followed him,” Jones continued reading.
Suspicion quickly focused on Clyde Giddens, a sailor who went AWOL in Virginia and traveled to Red River Parish looking for his estranged wife. Blaming Earlene Bamburg for his marital problems, he committed this heinous act.
He set remains of her body on fire, which caused the house to burn. Then he returned to Virginia.
At first, Earlene’s death was not ruled a homicide. It wasn’t until her body parts were found buried in a field and exhumed.
Giddens pleaded guilty on Oct. 10, 1964. Ten days later, he was sentenced to serve natural life, with the sentence to run consecutive with an arson charge.
Earlene’s family agreed not to pursue the death penalty.
The family didn’t pursue the death penalty based on what they thought was a deal – Giddens would stay in jail for life, period.
Meanwhile Giddens has sought clemency no less than 15 times since he went to prison, which means that the Bamburgs get dragged back into the circumstances of his atrocity again and again. Now he’s back for another bite at the apple thanks to a provision in the criminal justice reform package passed last year.
We don’t have a position one way or another on the criminal justice reform. We think the implementation of it has been a cruel joke on the people of the state, but what’s objectionable is the twisting of the truth about who’s involved. There aren’t a lot of innocent people stuck behind bars who are going to be free thanks to these reforms – instead, there are a lot of Clyde Giddenses. From the KTBS piece last week…
Then came Louisiana’s 2017 criminal justice reform laws — one allowing for medical furloughs to “an off-site medical facility. … Only available to those not otherwise eligible for medical parole. …”
Giddens applied and James LeBlanc, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Corrections recommended him for the medical furlough. Giddens’ case will be heard by the state parole board on March 15.
Don’t think the Bamburgs missed that Bridges article, either…
And some even question if Giddens is telling the truth when it comes to why he’s spent the past 53 years in prison. A May 2017 interview with Giddens — published in newspapers in Louisiana, Washington, D.C., New York and beyond — states, “When he was young and strong, Clyde Giddens fought with a man and stabbed him to death, leading to a life sentence for murder.”
Dennis and Margie Bamburg questioned why the information wasn’t fact-checked. “I was appalled,” Margie Bamburg said of the report.
Clyde Giddens isn’t likely to get out of Angola as a result of tomorrow’s hearing. Lying about your crime to gullible, agenda-driven newspaper reporters in an effort to make yourself look sympathetic generally doesn’t help your cause for the Parole Board.
Especially when U.S. Senators are writing letters to the board urging that Giddens be denied his plea. Here was what John Kennedy wrote this morning…
Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole
P.O. Box 94304
Baton Rouge, La. 70802
Dear Board Members:
I write to oppose the early release of convicted murderer Clyde Y. Giddens. It is my understanding that Mr. Giddens will come before the Committee on Parole Thursday from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, where he is serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of Mrs. Earline Bamburg.
The only reason Mr. Giddens is even afforded the possibility of freedom is because of the early release measures within Gov. John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform program. He has not earned a second chance.
Mr. Giddens pleaded guilty in 1964 to Mrs. Bamburg’s murder. Mr. Giddens assaulted Mrs. Bamburg, stabbed her, burned her corpse and hacked off her arms and leg with a saw. Later, he told a law enforcement officer that he laughed as he used the saw and fed her body parts to a stray dog. Mr. Giddens said he got a thrill from watching the dog eat the body parts like they were “hamburger meat.”
At the time of her brutal death, Mrs. Bamburg was 36 years old. Her family generously opted against pursuing the death penalty because they believed a life sentence was for life. Mr. Giddens has repaid their kindness by seeking parole eligibility more than a dozen times.
Gov. Edwards’ so-called criminal justice reform package gave Mr. Giddens an undeserved gift by making limited-mobility offenders eligible for medical treatment furloughs. According to news reports, Louisiana Department of Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc has recommended that Mr. Giddens receive a medical furlough. Mr. Giddens apparently uses a wheelchair. However, he is well enough to grant news interviews and lie about why he is behind bars. Just last year, he told The Washington Post that he was in prison for killing a man during a fight.
A life sentence should be a life sentence, especially when the murder victim suffered the type of indignity that Mrs. Bamburg did. Her family continues to mourn her loss. They suffer further every time Mr. Giddens makes another grasp for freedom. They fervently want him to remain in prison. Their wishes should trump releasing Mr. Giddens purely to save a few nickels on medical expenses.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.
cc: Gov. John Bel Edwards
Louisiana Department of Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc
Maybe we’re wrong on this, and maybe Giddens will be sprung to a nursing home. If he is, we’ll now have a statewide outrage that will hang about Gov. Edwards’ neck like an albatross in next year’s election cycle.
But we doubt that. Edwards isn’t going to subject himself to that kind of scrutiny. Which leaves us with the question of what happens to Tyler Bridges given his fake-news reporting of Clyde Giddens’ criminal record – how can anybody give credence to anything he ever writes again?