On his last day in office, Gov. Beshear grants clemency to 10 vi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

On his last day in office, Gov. Beshear grants clemency to 10 victims of domestic violence

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – On his last day in office, former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear pardoned or commuted the sentences of ten women who were the victims of domestic violence.

“We across the state have worked with most of these victims, if not all of them, and we don't recommend everyone,” said Marta Miranda, CEO and President of The Center for Women and Families.

“We recommend the cases that really meet to criteria.”

All ten women who were granted clemency by Beshear were convicted of killing their abusers.

“There are circumstances we know where victims are in such terror and live in such a psychological war zone that this becomes an option for them,” Miranda said.

One of those being granted clemency is Gabrielle Cecil, who was convicted of killing her partner back in June 1991 in Louisville. She was sentenced to life in prison.

“This is not somebody that got drunk or got mad or just decided I'm going to kill this guy,” Miranda said. “That's not the situation.”

Miranda says each case was looked at carefully by the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a group of fifteen different Kentucky domestic violence programs.

“It's really a specific kind of situation where it’s not just out of anger or they're just tired and want to get a divorce,” Miranda said. “This is really a pattern of living with trauma.”

Cecil’s sentence was commuted by former governor Ernie Fletcher in 2007, but she received a pardon from Beshear.

“There is a stigma, 'Why couldn't you just have left?' Because judges, family members and advocates don’t understand why women stay,” Miranda said.

Five of the ten women will be released from various Kentucky prisons this week. The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence will work with those five to re-integrate them into society.

“It's not in any way to be excused. These people were sentenced. Most of them have served their sentences, some of them are on parole,” Miranda said. 

“Some of those women are in jail, and we'll work with them. Some are maybe being pardoned, and we'll work with them.”

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