Former Gov. Bevin pardons several Southeastern Kentuckians convicted of murder

Published: Dec. 11, 2019 at 12:33 PM EST
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As one of Matt Bevin's last actions as governor, he pardoned several Kentuckians convicted of murder. Several of them came from Southeastern Kentucky.

One person who was pardoned was a Knox County man convicted of reckless homicide.

In May 2014, Baker was one of five people involved in a violent home invasion in the Scalf community of Knox County.

The Courier-Journal reports that Baker's brother and sister-in-law threw a fundraiser in Corbin for Bevin in 2018.

Baker was described as the "trigger-man" in the death of Donald Mills.

He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

When Mills' family found out Wednesday morning, they were between heartbroken and irate. December 11, the same morning, was Donnie's sister Melinda's 36th birthday.

"My exact words for Matt Bevin, I know he is out of office, but he can rot in hell. That's exactly what we feel about him," said Melinda Mills.

As for the pardoning of Baker, the family does not understand why he was pardoned in the first place.

"He is no better than the rest of them. I mean, I'm sorry. I don't care who you are, what you did, or whatever. That don't give you no right to take somebody's life," said Mills.

In his executive order, Bevin wrote the evidence supporting Baker's conviction was inadequate.

"I am not convinced that justice has been served on the death of Donald Mills, nor am I convinced that the evidence has proven the involvement of Patrick Baker as murder," Bevin wrote.

Bevin also said Baker is a man who made a series of mistakes in his adult life and his drug addiction caused him to associate with people that led to his arrest, prosecution and conviction for murder.

Daniel Grubb, another man convicted in a separate Knox County murder, also received a pardon. A jury convicted him in 2010 of murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Investigators said Grubb killed Jeremy Johnson one year earlier and buried the body but, in part of the executive order, Bevin said "no greater degree of justice or rehabilitation will be gained by extending Daniel Grubb's time in prison."

A Letcher County woman will also get out of prison. Bevin commuted the sentence of Kathy Ellen Williams to time served.

14 years ago, she started serving a life sentence for murder. A jury convicted Williams in the 2004 murder of 19-year-old Forrester Caudill. Williams is now 62 years old.

A third man in a Knox County murder case will get out of prison thanks to a pardon from Bevin. Bevin signed an unconditional pardon for Delmar Partin, who was serving a life sentence for the 1993 murder of Betty Carnes.

Investigators found Carnes' body in a 55-gallon barrel at the Tremco Plant. Her head was chopped off and placed in her lap. The

reports the coroner could not tell if Carnes was killed by asphyxiation or by eight blows to her head with a metal pipe.

Bevin said he pardoned Partin because potential DNA evidence had not been tested. Partin is now 63 years old.

A Powell County woman convicted in her boyfriend's murder also received a pardon from Bevin. Melissa Roberts was sentenced to five years in prison last year on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

She killed Steven Strange in 2016. The former governor said he pardoned her because she defended herself and did what she had to do.

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