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Gov. Rick Perry Grants Two Pardons for Innocence

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Location: Austin, TX


Gov. Rick Perry Grants Two Pardons for Innocence

Also Accepts Parole Board Recommendations to Pardon 12 Others

Gov. Rick Perry today granted pardons for innocence to two individuals after subsequent DNA testing proved their innocence and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) unanimously recommended they be pardoned.

Keith Edward Turner was convicted of rape in 1983 in Dallas County was sentenced to 20 years and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Post-conviction DNA testing has shown that Turner is innocent, and the trial court issued findings that support Turner's innocence. The district attorney, trial court, sheriff and police chief all supported the pardon. At the time of his trial, DNA testing was not used because it had not been approved for admission into evidence in Texas courts.

Entre Nax Karage was convicted of murder in 1997 in Dallas County and received a life sentence. Following new DNA testing, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said new evidence "cast doubt on the reliability of (Karage's) conviction." The pardon for innocence was supported by the district attorney, the trial court and the sheriff.

"I believe that a full pardon for innocence must be supported by strong evidence, such as forensic DNA tests," Perry said. "In both of these cases, new DNA evidence proves these men are innocent. The recommendations of the distinct attorney, judges, the Dallas County Sheriff, the Dallas Chief of Police and the Board of Pardons and Paroles also were important factors in my decision."

Neither Turner nor Karage is in prison at this time. Turner is on parole and Karage was released in 2004 by the Dallas County trial court.

In other action taken as a result of BPP recommendations, Perry also today granted pardons to 12 individuals, most of whom were in their teens or early 20s when they were convicted of minor offenses well over a decade ago. None of the individuals was charged with subsequent crimes. Pardons were granted to:

* Willie Ray Brown, III of Sealy, 27, convicted of criminal mischief and possession of marijuana at the age of 17. He served 10 days in jail and one year probation. He also paid $440 in fines and $1,586 in restitution for his offenses.
* Ben Chadwick of Bakersfield, CA, 75, convicted of two counts of burglary in 1949 at the age of 20. He was sentenced to serve a total of seven years in prison.
* Michael Gene Everhart of Houston, 32, convicted of theft for using a calling card that was stolen by a college football teammate when he was 18. He paid a $297.50 fine and $41 in restitution; and served 12 months probation for his offense.
* Sandra Elaine Harris of Humble, 53, convicted of shoplifting in 1980. She paid a $150 fine and was ordered to serve 1 year probation.
* Eddie Presley Herrera of Odessa, 29, convicted of theft at the age of 18. He served three days in jail and paid a $200 fine.
* Karen Marie Holmes of DeSoto, 48, convicted of shoplifting and fraud in 1974. She paid $525 in fines and served a total of 18 months probation. She was 18 at the time of the offense.
* Karl DeWayne Kovar of Amarillo, 49, was convicted of theft by receiving in 1991. He served four years probation and was discharged in 1993.
* Robert Wayne Lorance of Redwater, 41, convicted of burglary in 1983 when he was 18. He paid a $500 fine and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
* Jason Michael May of San Antonio, 24, was convicted of family violence in 1998 when he was 17 and got into a fight with his father. He paid a $58.50 fine for his offense.
* Sharon Denise Scallion of San Antonio, 37, convicted of theft in 1985 at the age of 17. She paid a $250 fine and served six months probation.
* Nancy Martinez Shelden of San Antonio, 40, convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon in 1983. She was 19 at the time. She paid a $150 fine and served one year probation.
* Paul Norman Wood of Copperas Cove, 28, convicted of driving while intoxicated when he was 18. He paid a $500 fine and served one year probation.

All of the pardons were recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

http://www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/press/pressreleases/PressRelease.2005-12-22.5914

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