Indigenous man dies in US prison following 30-year fight to come home

Melbourne-born man Russell Moore has died in a US prison following a three-decade fight to be returned to Australia.

Moore, also known by his adoptive name James Hudson Savage, died at Apalachee Correctional Institution in Florida on June 2.

Russell Moore died in Florida on June 2.Credit:Danielle Smith

His US lawyer Richard Bourke, who spent decades working to help return Moore to his birth country, said the 58-year-old had a medical emergency.

“I am profoundly saddened by Russell’s passing and my heart goes out to his family and his community for their loss, made all the more bitter by our inability to have his sentence transferred and have him returned home before his death,” Mr Bourke said.

“Russell had applications to be transferred to serve his life sentence in Australia denied in 2007 and 2012, despite the support of the Australian and Victorian governments.

“Preparations for a third application to return were interrupted by the pandemic.”

Born in Fitzroy North in 1963, Moore was a First Nations person from the stolen generations.

Moore was adopted as a newborn before moving to the US with his adoptive parents as a seven-year-old.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 57-year-old Barbara Barber in a city named Melbourne, south-east of Orlando, in November 1988.

His birth mother Beverley Whyman, from Swan Hill, spent years campaigning for her son to be returned to Australia. She died in 2017.

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