Parole board recommends death row inmate receive clemency from governor

The Arkansas Parole Board is recommending Jason McGehee, a death row inmate scheduled to be executed this month, be granted clemency from the governor. (Photo: Arkansas Department of Correction)

The Arkansas Parole Board is recommending a death row inmate scheduled to be executed this month be granted clemency from the governor.

Parole board members voted 6 to 1 in favor of the recommendation for inmate Jason McGehee, a gang leader who directed the torture and killing of victim John Melbourne Jr.

McGehee told the board he never wanted Melbourne to die.

McGehee is scheduled to be put to death April 27. Governor Asa Hutchinson will make the final decision on whether McGehee will receive clemency.

"Mr. McGehee was only twenty years old at the time of his offense, and his near-perfect record in prison has impressed many people.," said John C. Williams, assistant federal defender. "His clemency petition was supported by both the former head of the Arkansas Department of Correction, Ray Hobbs, and the judge who presided over his trial, Robert McCorkindale. The parole board determined Mr. McGehee warrants clemency instead of death because of his exemplary behavior, his youth at the time of the crime, and also because his sentence is not proportional. Two of his co-defendants who were equally, if not more, culpable received lesser sentences. For all these reasons, we respectfully ask the Governor to accept the parole board’s recommendation and sentence Mr. McGehee to life without the possibility of parole instead of death."

The parole board also announced it is recommending death row inmate Kenneth Williams be denied clemency by the governor.

In 1999, Williams was sentenced to life for killing UAPB cheerleader Dominique Hurd and Jerrell Jenkins. He escaped prison weeks later and while running killed both Cecil Boren and Michael Greenwood.

Williams is also scheduled to be executed April 27.

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