Kentucky Citizens Outraged After Governor Pardoned 650 Prisoners before Leaving Office

Matt Bevin, Wiki
Matt Bevin, the former Governor of Kentucky, issued more than 650 pardons and commutations of prison sentences before leaving office, prompting critics to call for a federal investigation. Bevin pardoned men convicted of murder, homicide and child rape. Brian Baker was pardoned, and records show that his brother held a fundraiser event for the former governor. Kentucky’s constitution grants broad discretion for the governor to pardon, and he likely will not be prosecuted for the controversial pardons. However, the state could prosecute donors if a pay-for play pardon scheme is discovered. -GEG

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into the more than 650 pardons and commutations that former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued in his last act as governor after allegations surfaced that some had been given as favors to his campaign donors.

Bevin, a Republican, lost his re-election bid in November and Democrat Andy Beshear was sworn in as governor on Dec. 10.

While a majority of the pardons that the former governor issued were to low-level drug offenders, several violent offenders were also on his list, including convicted murderers and rapists, according to the Courier-Journal.

Democratic Kentucky State Representative Chris Harris said that he had been contacted by criminal investigators.

“I can confirm that I have been contacted by someone looking into the pardons that were issued by Gov. Bevin on his way out the door,” Harris said. “The impression I got is that there was an investigation ramping up.”

Although the FBI would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, two other sources told the Courier-Journal that the investigator who had spoken with Harris was from the FBI.

“It may be a formal investigation or it may not be a formal investigation,” Harris said. “It may be just calling to see if there’s anything there to warrant a full investigation… I can tell you, at least, there are questions being asked.”

State prosecutors have condemned Bevin’s pardons and questioned whether there was corruption involved in the former governor’s decision-making, MSNBC reported.

In the most egregious example, Bevin pardoned Patrick Brian Baker, who had only served two years of a 19-year sentence for reckless homicide and robbery convictions.

Baker participated in the 2014 killing of a Knox County man in front of his wife, the Courier-Journal reported.

Prosecutors said that Baker and another man posed as police officers to gain entry to a home for the purposes of a robbery and then fatally shot Donald Mills in front of his wife, NBC News reported.

The Courier-Journal reported that Baker’s brother hosted a campaign fundraiser for the governor’s re-election campaign in July of 2018 and raised $21,500 for Bevin’s campaign coffers.

Terry Forcht, a GOP mega-donor in Kentucky, also reached out to Bevin on Baker’s behalf and urged the then-governor to pardon the convicted murderer.

Forcht has given more than $100,000 to Bevin’s past campaigns and inaugurals, according to the Courier-Journal.

Baker held a press conference after he was pardoned and claimed the state police had framed him.

Former Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders told the Courier-Journal that an internal investigation had determined that “Baker was, in fact, guilty in that case” and he had told Bevin that.

Republican State Senate President Robert Stivers has called for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bevin also pardoned a convicted child rapist named Micah Schoettle, NBC News reported.

Schoettle was convicted of rape, sodomy, and other sexual crimes against a nine-year-old girl.

Bevin defended the controversial pardon by saying the case “was investigated and prosecuted in a manner that was sloppy at best,” the Courier-Journal reported.

He said that victim could not have been raped because her sister, who was also allegedly a victim, denied that it happened, NBC News reported.

“These girls both were examined medically. They were examined physically. There was zero evidence. Zero. Both their hymens were intact,” Bevin said. “This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically.”

Medical experts and victims’ advocates disputed Bevin’s assertions.

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Joe Tittiger

TN being a very “christian” state should not be locking men in cages to begin with as scripture always talks about restitutions not cages. Instead of restitution to the victims the citizens are robbed to lock, men in cages. This is INJUSTICE. As the article stated most did not commit “crimes”. Furthermore I think that the police officers that enforced these illegitimate laws should be arrested and prosecuted for violation of rights (USC 18 sections 241 & 242) Now the pardoning of the murders except for the fact that they were in cages is the mark of a psychopath. A… Read more »