Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued a slew of pardons on his way out of office, granting relief to a convicted killer whose brother raised money for Bevin and another man who was convicted of a grisly murder in eastern Kentucky.
Bevin, who lost to Democrat Andy Beshear last month in a close race, issued more than 400 pardons since the November 5 election, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State's office.
In an unrelated move, Beshear signed an executive order Thursday reports CBS Louisville affiliate WLKY-TV. Beshear said while he fights for justice, "I also believe in redemption and second chances.",
The order only applies to non-violent offenders. Beshear said some acts, like sexual abuse and homicide, are simply too heinous to forgive.
Bevin pardoned Delmar Partin, who was convicted of murdering his former lover and stuffing her headless body into a 55-gallon drum at a chemical plant in Barbourville in 1993. The two were co-workers at the plant. Partin was serving a life sentence in prison, but defense attorneys argued at the trial that there was only a five- to 10-minute window of time for Partin to commit the crime and there was no physical evidence linking him to the death.
Bevin cited the "inability or unwillingness of the state to use existing DNA evidence to either affirm or disprove this conviction" in his pardon order.
He also pardoned Patrick Brian Baker, who was convicted of homicide and other crimes in a fatal 2014 home break-in in Knox County, the Courier-Journal reported.
Baker's family raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year for Bevin and Baker's brother and sister-in-law also gave $4,000 to Bevin's campaign on the day of the fundraiser, the newspaper reported.
Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele, who prosecuted Patrick Baker and other defendants for the 2014 death of Donald Mills, told the newspaper it would be an "understatement to say I am aggrieved" by Bevin's pardon. The other defendants were not pardoned.
Bevin also commuted the death sentence of Greg Wilson, who was convicted in 1987 of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Deborah Pooley in Covington. Her body was dumped in Indiana and not found for two weeks.
Bevin said in his order that Wilson's legal defense was inadequate and the "prosecution and defense in this case were, from start to finish, incredibly incompetent." Bevin reduced Wilson's sentence to life with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 30 years.
Bevin also pardoned Micah Schoettle, who was sentenced last year to 23 years in prison for raping a 9-year-old child in Kenton County, the Courier-Journal reported. Bevin wrote that Schoettle was convicted of a heinous crime "based only on testimony that was not supported by any physical evidence." He added he does "not believe that the charges against Mr. Schoettle are true."