Gov. Mike Beebe says he will pardon his son, Kyle, for a felony crime from his past.
"Mr. Governor, I am asking for a second chance at life. I am asking for a second chance to be the man that I know that I can be," Kyle Beebe wrote in his pardon application to his father.
Kyle Beebe, now 34, was charged in 2003 with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, with intent to deliver, a class C felony. He was given 3 years supervised probation and fines. Gov. Beebe was serving as the state's attorney general at the time. At the time of the arrest, Gov. Beebe was quoted in a local newspaper saying, "If he broke the law, he needs to pay for it. He needs to be treated like everybody else-no better, worse."
In an interview with Channel 7 News Wednesday, Gov. Beebe said he will pardon his son.
"I would have done it a long time ago if he'd have asked, but he took his sweet time about asking. He was embarrassed. He's still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed. All of the families that go through that, it's tough on the families, but hopefully the kids learn," Beebe said.
Beebe says his son has grown up a lot since that time.
"Kids when they're young do stupid stuff. He was no different. Liked to have broken his mother's heart. His mother and I were stereotypical parents from the different end of the spectrum. She was the enabler that tried to fix everything. I was the nuclear bomb thrower that thought you ought to shoot him. Somewhere between those two extremes was probably the right thing to do," Beebe said.
Beebe says he's done more than 700 pardons, mostly of non-violent offenders.
"Especially young people with drugs if they've straightened up, to get their life back on track and have a second chance, so this is no different. It's different because it's my son," Beebe said.
Kyle Beebe had to write a lengthy letter to his father, asking for the pardon.
"At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality. I was young and dumb. At that time in my life I felt like I was missing something and I tried to fill that emptiness by selling drugs," Kyle Beebe wrote.
The Arkansas Parole Board recommended Kyle Beebe for pardon on Oct. 20. The recommended pardons are posted for 30 days. Afterward, it is up to Gov. Beebe to pardon those recommendations or deny them.
"I am asking for a second chance to be a better son to my parents and prove to them that I am the person they raised me to be," Kyle Beebe wrote to his father.
A spokesman for the Arkansas Parole Board told Channel 7 News, "I can tell you that [Kyle] Beebe did not receive any special treatment by the Board while his application was under consideration." You can read the Board's statement on the pardon application here.
Along with Kyle Beebe, nine others with similar drug charges were recommended by the board for pardons from the governor.