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Gov. pardons Laurel Co. man for crash that killed Windstream employee

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Posted at 4:24 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 12:42:16-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18/Sentinel Echo) — Gov. Matt Bevin issued at least 15 pardons Friday including one for a Laurel County man convicted of wanton murder in 2015.

Bevin issued an unconditional pardon for Justin Derrick Wibbels.

According to the Sentinel Echo, Wibbels was involved in a 2014 crash that resulted in the death of Windstream employee Jerry Thompson. According to investigators, Wibbels hit Thompson's company vehicle head-on.

The jury ruled that Wibbels was guilty of wanton murder and imposed a 20-year sentence.

Gov. Matt Bevin disagreed that Wibbels was guilty of murder.

In his opinion, Bevin wrote, "Justin was involved in a tragic accident and has been incarcerated as a result of his conviction for wanton murder. This was not a murder."

As a result, Wibbels will have his rights and privileges restored in Kentucky.