FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear granted nearly 200 pardons to state inmates Monday, including convicted killer Cheryl McCafferty, who shot and killed her husband Robert in their Fort Thomas home in 2007.
A jury found McCafferty guilty of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced her in March 2009 to serve 18 years in prison at Western Kentucky Correctional Complex. Four years into her sentence, McCafferty's attorneys requested a new trial, claiming she had not been adequately represented.
According to a news release Monday from Beshear’s office, the governor received more than 3,400 requests for pardon throughout his 8 years in office.
"I spent many long days weighing the merits and circumstances of individual cases before making my final decisions,” Beshear said of his final executive action before leaving office this week. “The pardon authority…isn’t something I take lightly.”
Beshear said the 10 women he pardoned who had committed violent crimes — including McCafferty — had committed those crimes after suffering years of domestic violence abuse at the hands of their eventual victims.
As WCPO previously reported, McCafferty’s release seemed imminent due to a number of factors, including a 2011 law passed by Kentucky legislators to deal with the escalating costs of incarceration in the state.
Kentucky Department of Corrections spokesman Mike Caudill told WCPO last month that he expected McCafferty to be released between Nov. 16 and March 9, 2016 as a result of the law.
Beshear’s pardon seems to have taken care of that for the KDOC.
According to Caudill, McCafferty has served more than 8 years, 5 months for her crime.
According to the release, Beshear granted 197 pardons and six sentence commutations.
In addition to favoring inmates whose crimes were associated with domestic violence, Beshear said he pardoned several drug offenders as a strategic effort to "focus on treatment."
WCPO contributor Mark Collier assisted in this report.