Huckabee apologizes for pardons after police killings
Then-Ark. governor commuted sentence of suspect in four deaths
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Monday accepted responsibility for commuting the prison sentence years ago of the man who allegedly killed four police officers Sunday near Tacoma, Wash., saying “it’s not something I’m happy about at this particular moment.”
The shooting deaths have renewed scrutiny of Huckabee’s pardon record. Though one of the Republican Party’s most popular figures, Huckabee has been dogged by questions over the more than 1,000 commutations and pardons he issued — more than his three predecessors combined — during his 10-year tenure.
“If I could have known nine years ago this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would never have granted a commutation,” he told Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly on Monday night. “It’s sickening.”
“In the case of this particular individual, he was sentenced to 108 years for two crimes when he was 16. The post-prison transfer board … recommended to me as governor for his commutation, which didn’t release him, it simply cut his sentence to 47 years. That would give him parole eligibility. That was the commutation. I’m responsible for that. And it’s not something I’m happy about at this particular moment, in light of that,” Huckabee said.
In his 2008 presidential campaign, Huckabee faced similar questions over the release from prison of convicted rapist Wayne DuMond, who was convicted of another rape and a murder.
Huckabee tried then to distance himself from any role in the DuMond parole, and on Sunday he similarly pointed at “a series of failures in the criminal justice system” regarding Maurice Clemmons.