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Longest-serving N.D. inmate released

BISMARCK (AP) -- North Dakota's longest-serving inmate at the state penitentiary was released on parole Wednesday after serving nearly 40 years for strangling two women in a Grand Forks apartment.

James Iverson, 70, was released to the Bismarck Transition Center to help him ease back into community life.

"I took the programs that they wanted me to do, and they gave me a lot of trust and I tried to do as best as I can with that trust, and it paid off," Iverson told Bismarck's KFYR TV.

The former taxi driver was sentenced to life in prison for killing Dianne Bill, along with a sentence of between 25 years and 30 years in prison for killing Bill's friend, Carol Mayers. The women's bodies were found in Mayers' Grand Forks apartment in November 1968, after they failed to show up at a restaurant where they worked.

The Parole Board, which confirmed his status Wednesday as the longest serving inmate, granted Iverson's request for early release last year. It was his 10th attempt at parole. He is required to wear a monitor and remain in Burleigh and Morton counties, though he may travel to Fargo for Veterans Administration services. He is barred from contact with the victims' families.

The state Parole Board will check on his progress in April. If he has no problems, his parole will end Sept. 16, 2010.

Without parole, Iverson's release date would be Nov. 7, 2010, including sentencing reductions and credit for good behavior.