Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: The American record for longest prison stay: 68 years and 245 days

68 years, 245 days in prison

Who's the longest serving prisoner in the United States?

Paul Geidel holds the American record for time served in prison at 68 years and 245 days.

At the age of 17, Geidel suffocated a wealthy broker in a New York City hotel and robbed him. He got only a few dollars and was arrested two days later. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison, which he served at Sing-Sing.

His sentence was reduced for good behavior, but in 1926 he was declared legally insane and was moved to the Dannemora State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He was there until 1972, when he was transferred to the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

He was granted parole in 1974, but refused because he didn't believe he could live outside prison. Finally, on May 7, 1980, at the age of 86, Geidel left Fishkill. He died seven years later in a nursing home.

The current longest-serving prisoner is William Heirens, who has been imprisoned since Sept. 6, 1946 — more than 64 years.

Heirens, now 82, confessed to the murders of two women and a young girl in Chicago between June 5, 1945, and Jan. 7, 1946. He was dubbed the "Lipstick Killer" after police found a message written in red lipstick on the wall of the second victim: "for heavens sake catch me before i kill more i cannot control myself."

Heirens, who recanted and maintains he's innocent, is in the health care unit of the Dixon (Ill.) Correctional Center.

Allman fine after transplant

How is Gregg Allman doing after his June liver transplant?

Rocker Gregg Allman performed in T Bone Burnett's Speaking Clock Revue in Boston and New York in October. Rolling Stone reported that Allman debuted material from his forthcoming solo album, Low Country Blues, which is scheduled to be released Jan. 18, at New York's Beacon Theatre and "seemed tentative between songs, even a little naked without his usual band."

Allman thanked the anonymous donor of his new liver and "found his strength in a cover of Muddy Waters' I Can't Be Satisfied." Rolling Stone also reported that he made a cameo on Gone to Shiloh by Elton John and Leon Russell. A Wall Street Journal blog reported that "Allman was much thinner than in recent years, but his raspy-blues voice was true."

According to, the Allman Brothers Band has been playing concerts in the northeast United States since Nov. 12, and has another 13 scheduled from now until Jan. 15.

Allman has the liver disease hepatitis C, and had a liver transplant June 23 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

Q&A: The American record for longest prison stay: 68 years and 245 days 11/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.