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A fresh start with Sweet Pea: Parolee gets new start with four-legged friend

February 7, 2018

Ricky Battles and his friend Maria Basile are greeted by Sweet Pea at the State Correctional Institution at Somerset on Battles’ last day at the state prison Tuesday. Battles, who was charged with murder in 1977, spent most of his life in prison after being sentenced as a juvenile. For the last year and a half, he raised a puppy called Sweet Pea as part of the prison’s dog-raising program. The prison has allowed him to keep the dog following his release on parole. Battles said he’s a much different man than when he went into prison.