In one of his last official acts, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has commuted the life sentence Online Cigarettes Store USA of Paul Donel Hurt, who had served nearly two decades on charges of sexually abusing his 6-year-old stepdaughter.
Bevin granted the executive order for the pardon late last week, citing the victim’s controversial recantation of the story that originally sent Hurt to prison.
“Hindsight is never truly 20/20,” Bevin wrote, “but it appears to me, and to many others including the judge who sentenced him,” that Hurt was “wrongly convicted.”
Hurt, 45, was arrested after his young stepdaughter told her mother that Hurt had molested her over several months Newport Pleasure in late 1999 and early 2000. He was convicted in 2001 on three counts of sodomy in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, according to court documents.
That might have been the end of it ― with Hurt serving out his punishment ― until the man who sentenced him, Jefferson Circuit Judge Stephen Mershon, reached out to Hurt in prison after retiring from the judiciary. The two began a correspondence.
According to court documents, “Judge Mershon became convinced that Hurt was innocent in this matter” and, in “an effort Cheap Newport 100s cigarettes to obtain Hurt’s release,” he “contacted the victim and assisted her in writing a letter to Governor Steven Beshear seeking a pardon or commutation for Hurt” in 2015.