On this day, April 3, in 1987, convicted murderer Willie Horton raped a Prince George's County woman and beat and tied up her boyfriend after escaping from prison while out on a weekend pass.
Horton became a major issue during the 1988 presidential race. Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee, supported the furlough program as Massachusetts governor that put Horton on the streets.
Horton attacked the Oxon Hill couple a year after the inmate failed to return from his 10th weekend prison pass under a Massachusetts prison furlough program overseen by Dukakis. Horton had been serving a sentence of life without parole for killing a 17-year-old.
Republicans criticized Dukakis in an advertising campaign, leading to cries of racism. Horton was black. The victims were white.
Republican strategist Lee Atwater later apologized to Dukakis for the "naked cruelty" of the campaign.
-- Scott McCabe