Why Did Former Governor Matt Bevin Pardon Violent Criminals?

Sunday, December 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Jose Nino
Dec 14, 2019

Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin left the governor’s mansion on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, but left office with a controversial set of actions.

Bevin, who lost his re-election campaign for a second term by a razor thin margin, issued pardons to hundreds of individuals including convicted rapists, murderers, and drug offenders according to NPR.

One case featured Bevin pardoning a man convicted of homicide. The convict’s family raised more than $20,000 at a political fundraiser to help pay off a debt incurred from his 2015 gubernatorial campaign.

According to The Courier-Journal, the former governor approved 428 pardons and commutations since his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear, according to a report from The Courier-Journal. The paper points out that, “The beneficiaries include one offender convicted of raping a child, another who hired a hit man to kill his business partner and a third who killed his parents.”

Winter sunset…

Phone camera doesn’t do it justice…Truly spectacular!#WeAreKY pic.twitter.com/qN9tHqVABQ

— Matt Bevin (@MattBevin) December 12, 2019

Bevin’s controversial decisions have been met with great shock and criticism from many throughout the Bluegrass state.

Twitter user Josh Trosper criticized the governor in a tweet: “I guess you can snap pics when you don’t have the time to look families (or voters) in the face and tell them you pardoned murderers and rapists.”

Rob Sanders, the Kenton County commonwealth’s attorney, informed The Cincinnati Enquirer that he had supported Bevin but the pardons changed his mind.

“I was somebody who supported him and believed in him and I’m disgusted at myself for having done so,” Sanders commented about Bevin in a statement to the Enquirer.

The one pardon that got Sanders angry was that of Micah Schoettle, a 41-year-old convicted of raping a 9-year-old child last year. According to the Courier-Journal, he was given a 23-year-prison sentence.

In the pardon order, Bevin wrote, “Micah Schoettle was tried and convicted of a heinous crime based only on testimony that was not supported by any physical evidence.”

He added: “This case was investigated and prosecuted in a manner that was sloppy at best. I do not believe that the charges against Mr. Schoettle are true.”

Bevin ended up commuting Schoettle’s sentence to time served and ordered a complete and unconditional pardon.

One of Bevin’s other pardons was that of Patrick Brian Baker, who received a murder conviction in 2017 and was also convicted of tampering with physical evidence.

As the Courier-Journal also reports, Baker’s family “raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year to retire debt from Bevin’s 2015 gubernatorial campaign.” In addition, the paper reported that Baker’s brother and sister-in-law contributed $4,000 to the Bevin campaign.

“Patrick Baker is a man who has made a series of unwise decisions in his adult life,” Bevin wrote in his pardon letter on December 6, 2019. Bevin noted that evidence in his conviction was “sketchy at best.”

“I am not convinced that justice has been served in the death of Donald Mills, nor am I convinced that the evidence has proven the involvement of Patrick Baker as murderer,” Bevin stated.

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