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Mon Nov 25, 2019, 09:23 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin pardons man serving life sentence for sex abuse of 6-year-old stepdaughter

Gov. Matt Bevin has pardoned a man serving a life sentence for sexually abusing and sodomizing his 6-year-old stepdaughter 20 years ago.

In his pardon and commutation order on Friday, Bevin wrote that Paul Donel Hurt had been wrongly convicted in Jefferson County in 2001 of three counts of sodomy in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.

"Hindsight is never truly 20/20, but it appears to me, and to many others including the judge who sentenced him, that Paul Donel Hurt has been wrongly convicted and imprisoned for nearly 20 years," Bevin wrote.

In 2015, Hurt's accuser recanted her testimony in an evidentiary hearing. However, the trial court did not set aside the conviction, with Jefferson Circuit Judge Audra Jean Eckerle ruling that her recantation was an inconsistent, "shifting account" that was "no more likely to be true than false."

The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in August 2018, noting that after the retirement of Jefferson Circuit Judge Stephen Mershon the judge in the original conviction he began corresponding with Hurt in prison and contacted the victim, after which time she recanted.


Bevin's order pardoning Hurt stated that "in light of all that is known and all that will forever remain unknown, it does not seem possible that justice can be truly served in this instance."

"Nonetheless, with the power vested in me as Governor of the Commonwealth, I believe it is my moral duty to commute the remaining sentence of Paul Donel Hurt and to grant him the full and unconditional pardon that he has requested," Bevin wrote.

The governor added that "it is my fervent hope and prayer that Mr. Hurt will find his faith in God and in his fellow man restored, and that he and his family will be abundantly blessed as he experiences the restoration of his freedom in the years ahead."


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Reply Gov. Matt Bevin pardons man serving life sentence for sex abuse of 6-year-old stepdaughter (Original post)
tenderfoot Nov 2019 OP
tulipsandroses Nov 2019 #1

Response to tenderfoot (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2019, 10:27 PM

1. Why was the judge contacting the victim in the case?

This is not just " unusual". It seems unethical.

Something seems fishy here to me. Why on earth was a judge advocating for an accused child molester and not the victim? If he was going to insert himself in the case at all?

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