Matt Bevin’s Pardons: Who’s saying what?

Matt Bevin’s Pardons: Who’s saying what?
Matt Bevin is catching some serious heat about some of the people he’s pardoned in his final acts as Kentucky’s governor. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Matt Bevin is catching some serious heat about some of the people he’s pardoned in his final acts as Kentucky’s governor.

Following a contentious campaign, Democratic challenger Andy Beshear stopped Bevin’s bid for re-election in a tight race last month.

Since the defeat, Bevin has pardoned several hundred people, including five convicted killers, a child rapist and dozens of other violent offenders.

“The pardons show a shocking lack of judgment,” Sen. Morgan McGarvey told WAVE3.com on Friday. “The governor didn’t even provide notice to the victims in the cases before issuing the pardons, which is wrong.”

Some of those pardoned are listed below:

+ Patrick Brian Baker was serving a 19-year sentence for reckless homicide and other charges in Knox County. This 2017 case was among the first pardons to draw reactions from critics who were quick to note that Baker’s brother and sister-in-law organized a 2018 fundraiser in Corbin that generated more than $21,000 for Bevin.

“This pardon reeks of political favoritism,” McGarvey told WAVE3.com. “It looks bad, it smells bad, and it needs to be investigated by a bipartisan special prosecution team to see if it is bad.”

Melinda Mills’ brother was the victim of Baker. She wasn’t too keen on the pardon either.

“(Bevin’s) pathetic,” Mills said. “We have nothing for him and he can rot in hell. I would love to meet him in person to tell him that.”

On behalf of Senate colleagues Friday, McGarvey presented a letter he co-wrote to Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron requesting the bi-partisan special prosecution team that would investigate some of the pardons.

+ Micah Schoettle was convicted in 2018 of rape, incest, sexual abuse and sodomy in a case involving a 9-year-old girl. Instead of serving a 23-year sentence, Bevin’s pardon frees Schoettle after fewer than 18 months.

“It feels like we’re going through this all over again,” the girl’s mother told CNN. “We just got to the point where we felt safe leaving the house.”

Louisville sports radio personality Bob Valvano tweeted his criticism, and fellow sports personality Dick Vitale chimed in as well.

+ Kurt Smith was convicted in Fayette County in 2002 for the killing of his 6-week-old son. “With the stroke of (Bevin’s) pen, (Smith’s) sentence has been erased,” a Fayette County prosecutor said.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell sounded off on his issue with Bevin’s pardons, saying, "Honestly, I don’t approve. It seems to me it was completely inappropriate. I expect he had the power to do it, but looking at the examples of people who are incarcerated as a result of heinous crimes, no I don’t approve of it.”

Late Friday afternoon, Senate President Robert Stivers, himself also a Republican, issued a statement condemning Bevin’s pardons.

“From what we know of former Governor Bevin’s extreme pardons and commutations, the Senate Republican Majority condemns his actions as a travesty and perversion of justice. Our citizens, and especially the crime victims and their families, deserve better.

We support the gathering of facts and call upon the U.S. Attorney’s office to launch an investigation into former Governor Bevin’s pardons.”

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