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Elderly son of heiress Brooke Astor granted medical release from jail

Anthony Marshall arrives to New York Criminal Court, June 21, 2013. Marshall, 89, son of late philanthropist Brooke Astor, turned himself in
Anthony Marshall arrives to New York Criminal Court, June 21, 2013. Marshall, 89, son of late philanthropist Brooke Astor, turned himself in

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brooke Astor's 89-year-old son, in prison for swindling his late philanthropist mother, won early medical release on Thursday, the New York Department of Corrections said.

Anthony Marshall, convicted in 2009 of grand larceny and other charges for taking advantage of his aging mother, suffers from Parkinson's disease and is unable to walk or feed himself, according to his lawyers.

He began serving his sentence on June 21.

A decorated veteran from the Second World War, Broadway producer and U.S. diplomat, he has been serving his one- to three-year sentence in a medical unit at Fishkill Correctional Facility, about 70 miles north of New York City.

To be eligible for medical parole, inmates must be "so physically or cognitively debilitated or incapacitated that there is a reasonable probability" that they no longer present any danger to society, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Marshall was convicted of taking advantage of his mother's deteriorating mental state and stealing millions of dollars from her in the years before she died at the age of 105 in 2007. The thrice-married Astor was a philanthropist for much of her life, heading the Vincent Astor Foundation for almost 40 years.

Since New York's compassionate release law took effect in 1992, 398 inmates have been granted medical parole, department spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.

Last year, 11 inmates received parole under the law, six with terminal illnesses and five with non-terminal illnesses, she added.

(Reporting By Edith Honan. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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