Bush Expected To Sign Pardon
CONROE, Texas (AP) _ A 35-year-old man who has spent the last 10 years in prison for a rape conviction that has been put into question by DNA evidence was expected to be pardoned by Gov. George W. Bush.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday voted 18-0 in favor of pardoning Roy Wayne Criner, who was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl whose naked and bludgeoned body was found in September 1986 about 20 miles northeast of Houston.
The board’s recommendation was immediately forwarded to Bush’s office. The governor planned to sign the pardon Tuesday, spokeswoman Linda Edwards said.
``I agree with the Board of Pardons and Paroles that credible new evidence raises substantial doubt about the guilt of Roy Criner, and that he should receive a pardon,″ Bush said in a statement.
Bush also said Monday he would pardon Ronnie Mark Gariepy, 41, convicted in Hutchinson County of sexual assault. The board recommended Gariepy’s pardon in February.
Criner was convicted for the rape of Deanna Ogg, 16. Criner originally was charged with murder, a count dropped for lack of evidence.
His attorney, Michael B. Charlton, successfully argued that DNA evidence found on a cigarette butt matched semen found in Ogg’s body and neither matched Criner.
The pardons bring to 18 the number Bush has issued since taking office nearly six years ago. Five of those pardons, including the latest two, are ``pardons for innocence.″
In all five cases, the district judge, district attorney and sheriff from the prosecuting county all recommended the pardon.
Such was the case with Gariepy, who won the support of arresting authorities after his stepdaughter recanted her accusation he had sexually assaulted her on Oct. 5, 1991. He was paroled in 1999.
On the Net:
Gov. Bush’s site: http://www.governor.state.tx.us/index.html