LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After more than 30 years in prison, a former University of Kentucky basketball player will soon be a free man.
Tom Payne, 68, had been serving a sentence at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange on a rape conviction.
The 7'1" Payne, a graduate of Louisville's Shawnee High School, was the first African American signed to play for UK. He played one season for the Wildcats before entering the NBA supplemental draft and signing with the Atlanta Hawks.
In 1977, Payne was sentenced to life after being convicted in a 1971 rape. He was denied parole multiple times, most recently receiving a 24 month deferment in late November 2016.