Lois Davidson, whose daughter Carol Sue Shields was murdered by Wayne DuMond after he was released, told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith that Huckabee's involvement in the case suggests poor judgment.
"I don't think he did enough background research on Wayne DuMond's life," she said. "And if he didn't do that kind of research, I don't think he's gonna be good for the country."
As CBSNews.com, DuMond was arrested in 1985 for the rape of a 17-year-old girl who was a distant cousin of former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. He was convicted to life in prison plus 20 years, but some members of the media, including New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy and radio host Jay Cole, suggested that DuMond was innocent and had been railroaded by Clinton.
Clinton's successor, Jim Guy Tucker, reduced DuMond's sentence to to 39 years, making him eligible for parole. When Huckabee became governor in 1996, he said he was considering commuting DuMond's sentence to time served. After the victim and her supporters protested, Huckabee did not do so, but he reportedly wrote a letter to DuMond saying "my desire is that you be released from prison."
Soon after, Huckabee met with the parole board, which had the power to free DuMond.
"He thought DuMond had gotten a raw deal," Charles Chastain, a Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who was on the parole board at the time, told CBSNews.com. "He said he'd been born on the wrong side of the tracks and hadn't been treated all that fairly."
After the meeting, many board members reversed their votes from the previous year, and DuMond was paroled. After he was released, DuMond moved to Missouri, where he sexually assaulted and murdered Shields. He was the leading suspect in another rape and murder when he died in prison in 2005.
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Huckabee's office was provided letters from women who had been sexually assaulted by DuMond, who warned he could strike again. Before his conviction for rape, DuMond had a record that included attempted sexual assault and involvement in a murder.
Huckabee denies that his influence on the parole board resulted in DuMond's release.
"For people to say that I was responsible in getting him out makes a few presumptions...it assumes I had the amazing persuasive power to go into a board of seven people, all of them appointed by Democratic governors before me and persuade them to do something they didn't wish to do," he said.
But the mother of Carol Sue Shields doesn't accept that explanation.
"I don't think Mr. Huckabee ought to be president," said Davidson on The Early Show. "I don't think he should be running the country."