Pratt was one of the most well known Black Panther Party members, partially due to the fact that he was a long time political prisoner, having spent 27 years in jail for a crime that he did not commit. Eight of those years were spent in solitary confinement.
The former minister of defense for the BPP was convicted for the murder of a white woman in Santa Monica during a robbery attempt in 1968. The victim’s husband identified another man initially as the suspect but interestingly enough, that powerful piece of information never fell on the jury’s ears. In addition, Julius Butler, who was a Black Panther member and a police informant, identified Pratt as the murderer.
Prior to his work with the Black Panther party, the Louisiana native served in the Army and did two tours in Vietnam. He got involved with the Black Panther Party upon his move to California – a move he made to attend UCLA.