Before former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin left office on December 9, he pardoned as many as 161 criminals, and commuted the sentences of 419.
He insisted he spent hours personally reading their applications and files, while critics believed some of his actions were political.
- Patrick Baker was convicted of reckless homicide in 2017 and then pardoned . He served two years, and reportedly his family held a fundraiser and donated to Bevin’s campaign. His co-defendants are still imprisoned. Bevin’s attorney says that DNA evidence clears him.
- Delmar Partin was convicted in 1994 for the death of Betty Carnes, whose body was found decapitated near her job site. Bevin said that the state refused to use DNA evidence to affirm or disprove the conviction.
- Micah Schoettle was convicted last year of raping a child. Bevin has made no comment on this commutation.
- 336 commutations were made for those serving solely for drug possession.
- Johnetta Carr was serving for manslaughter, conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery, and tampering with evidence. She says she was a teenager and was coerced into confessing the crimes.
Some of the victims families said they were not notified of the upcoming pardons.
The family of one woman killed by a drunk driver said they felt as if their loved one’s life was insignificant as her killer went free. Bevin wrote in his pardon that the man had turned his life around and had paid his debt — although the victim’s family said he had never apologized to them.
Another man had spent 17 years in prison for murdering his parents as a 16-year-old. A family member said that the mother would be happy for her son, as she and her husband were volunteers who had done much good in third world countries. A professor who had taught their son in prison relayed to the family that he was a very good student who was a born leader.
In another case of a fatal drunk driving accident, the governor expressly requested that the pardoned individual stay sober and speak publicly about his crime and his victim, and that he use the victim’s name in his testimonials. However, the victim’s family do not want their son’s name used. They feel that the 4 years of a 20-year sentence was a slap in the face. A friend of the pardoned man says he is “amazingly remorseful” and would have given his life in place of the victim’s.
See the CNN story for more details.