NewsCovering Kentucky


LEX 18 uncovers pardoned inmate's lengthy prison violations

Posted at 4:28 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 19:11:03-05

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Former Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned more than 400 convicts and some of them were murderers. Many people are still talking about Bevin's decisions, especially victims, their families, along with police and prosecutors.

LEX 18 has learned more about a Pulaski County man who drove drunk and killed a Berea pastor and his wife. Brett Dustin Whittaker pleaded guilty to two counts of murder.

In his executive order, former Governor Bevin called Whittaker a new man who 'utilized the last nine years in prison to transform his life, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.'

Prison records from the Kentucky Department of Corrections reveal thirty disciplinary violations since 2011. Whittaker committed five violations in 2019. A review board found him guilty of Possession of Contraband Dec. 6, just days before his pardon by Bevin.

The thirty violations take up two pages. They include incidents of 'Unauthorized use of drug/intoxicant after 3rd positive test, Failure to abide by published schedule or rule and Physical action/force against other inmate w/no injury.'

Pulaski County Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery prosecuted Brett Dustin Whittaker who pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. He drove drunk and killed Berea pastor John Rowland and his wife, Lavada. Whittaker was pardoned on not only the murder convictions, but a previous assault 2nd conviction.

"Out of 20,000 people, I'd like to know how his name was pulled out of the hat?" said Montgomery. He pointed out the fact that Whittaker was on shock probation when he hit and killed the Rowlands.

Montgomery said while it's frustrating for him, he feels like he's letting the family down knowing Whittaker is now a free man. "This was a plea deal, he took 20 years. We told the family he would serve 17 years."