Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said he is considering clemency on the life sentences of three convicts charged with murder after receiving unanimous recommendations from the state Pardons Board. Rendell announced the news at a conference and stated he would review the cases of whether Keith O. Smith, William Fultz, and Tyrone Werts.
The three prison inmates had been involved in separate killings in the mid-1970s, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The governor explained that none of the men was the "actual killer," but each was found to be an accomplice in the murders. Rendell also noted that Smith, Fultz, and Werts had all served long terms while some of the other convicts involved in the crime had already been released.
"Under those circumstances, I think I'd be inclined to sign the pardons," Governor Rendell said. If he decides to grant the men clemency, each will have to spend at least one year in a prerelease center before getting discharged from parole.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a 1997 amendment that requires Pardon Board recommendations to be unanimous for defendants who were sentenced to life in prison or death. The Pardons Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday when they made recommendations for Keith Smith, William Fultz, and Tyrone Werts to receive eventual release on parole, which is the first such vote that has happened in PA in over six years.
To learn more about clemency or the criminal law process, speak to an experienced PA criminal defense attorney who can provide you with the proper legal information. For general information, browse through the Related Resources links below.
- Criminal Law - Clemency (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Get In Touch With A PA Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- President Obama Grants Pardons To Nine Criminal Offenders (FindLaw's Philadelphia Criminal Law News Blog)