Commonwealth Policy Center

Outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin issued over 400 pardons and sentence commutations in one of his last acts while in office. A few of the pardons have created a stir. He pardoned a Hopkinsville man for violent sexual assault of a 15-year old. A man on death row was pardoned for murdering his girlfriend and stuffing her headless body in a barrel. He pardoned another man convicted of murder in a deadly 2014 home invasion in Knox County. The man’s brother held a fundraiser and raised $21,500 for Bevin’s re-election campaign. Now, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers is calling for a federal investigation. Former Gov. Bevin defended his pardons by saying the “armchair critics” are not aware of “facts, evidence, lack of evidence, supporting documents, reasons and unique details” of the cases. Most people don’t know the facts of each case, but the juries who heard the evidence knew better than any anyone. Now, old wounds of aggrieved family members and victims have been reopened and the anger kindled of prosecutors who worked hard to put the criminals behind bars. The optics of the pardons is clearly bad. Barring any incredible revelations, justice would have been better served by foregoing the controversial pardons.