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Prosecutor weighs in on Bevin's pardons

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 18:41:10-05

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

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."

In Bevin's Executive Order it stated Whittaker was a new man who has 'utilized the last nine years in prison to transform his life, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.'

Montgomery said in the future, he hopes laws are amended so governors don't have the power to pardon violent offenders like Whittaker. He wants the legislature to take a serious look at it. "I think it's something they ought to look into changing."