One Last Kick In The Teeth Out The Door

 

Matt Bevin is no longer the governor of Kentucky, but his decisions continued to send shock waves through the state’s legal system this week after he issued pardons for hundreds of people, some of whom committed violent offenses.

Bevin issued 428 pardons since his defeat to Democrat Andy Beshear in a close election in November, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. His list includes a man convicted of reckless homicide, a convicted child rapist, a man who murdered his parents at age 16 and a woman who threw her newborn in the trash after giving birth in a flea market outhouse.

 

He also pardoned Dayton Jones, who was convicted in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy at a party, Kentucky New Era reported.
It is not unusual for governors to issue pardons as they leave office, but Bevin’s actions boggled some of the state’s attorneys, who questioned his judgment.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/12/defeated-gop-governor-pardoned-violent-criminals-spree-lawyers-are-calling-an-atrocity-justice/

Jeremy Pryor was a friend I made when I moved to Bowling Green in 1998. In November 2014, Jeremy was killed by drunk driver Michael Andrew Hardy. In 2016, Drew Hardy was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in prison. Matt Bevin pardoned Drew Hardy and gave him a conditional release on December 9, 2019.

I did not know Charles Westerfield, but I knew Irvin Edge’s family. They were from my hometown of Fordsville, where I went to school with Irvin’s daughter. In 1993, Irvin Edge was convicted of the murder of Westerfield, his business partner. Edge was also convicted of solicitation to murder for hiring a hit man to kill Westerfield. The Daily Kos reports that in 2004, Edge was ordered by the Kentucky State Parole Board to serve out the entirety of his life sentence. Bevin paroled him last week.

This month Matt Bevin used his gubernatorial pardon power to give murderers, rapists and sex offenders their freedom back. It is depressing, enraging, and semi-nauseating, to say the least.

If you believe, as Bevin says in his pardon of Hardy “that society, as a whole, or the memory of Jeremy Pryor more specifically, will be best served by the continued incarceration of Mr. Hardy“, you must also believe regardless of circumstance that every murderer should be released from prison. Prison is existentially pointless if you’re responsible for another person’s death, by Bevin’s tortured logic. As far as Jeremy Pryor’s memory is concerned, let his family and friends handle that.

Michael Andrew Hardy was a drunk driver who killed Jeremy Pryor. Irvin Edge hired a hit man to kill Charles Westerfield. If a parole board determines that a killer like Edge should live out the rest of his life in prison, then maybe the governor shouldn’t override that.  There is a short window to hold people accountable for their actions. Matt Bevin gave the Pryor and Westerfield families, and many more across this state, one last kick in the teeth on the way out the door.

 

 

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