Even After Bevin Released Convicted Killers and Rapists, GOP Leader Still Wishes Bevin was Governor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2022) – Even after Matt Bevin was the most disastrous, disrespectful and corrupt governor in Kentucky history, Republican Senate Leader Damon Thayer recently made it clear he misses the former governor. 

Thayer said he still wishes Bevin was governor, even after he pardoned convicted murderers, rapists, friends and political donors, made vicious attacks on teachers and other public servants and gave six-figure jobs to his personal friends.

“We had tension with Bevin. He was hard to work with. I’m not going to lie, but there was a heck of a lot more, and I still wish he was governor,” Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said at the Kentucky Press Association annual convention on Jan. 21.

Thayer said this even as Bevin and his pardons, some given to convicts whose families supported the former governor politically and which led to an FBI investigation, are in the news because some of the criminals are being resentenced because of the severity of their crimes or because they were arrested for other crimes.

“Matt Bevin repeatedly insulted our educators and other public servants, gave away our tax-dollars by giving six figure jobs to his cronies and — as a last insult to Kentuckians — pardoned politically-connected convicted murderers and rapists,” said Sebastian Kitchen, executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “It says a lot that Damon Thayer is so mired in partisan animosity that after all that he says he still wishes Bevin was governor. Our commonwealth deserves leaders who are focused on delivering for our people and our communities, not trafficking in petty, mean-spirited score-settling.”

Just some recent headlines about the Bevin pardons:

Patrick Baker, convicted of murder after Bevin pardoned him, gets nearly 40-year sentence: “Saying he had committed a heinous crime, U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom imposed a penalty that will make Baker 83 years old when he is eligible for release.”

Man pardoned by Bevin sentenced to 42 years in federal court Tuesday: “Although pardoned the first time by then-governor Matt Bevin, Patrick Baker has now been convicted and sentenced twice for his role in the 2014 killing of Donald Mills.”

Kentucky man arrested in DUI and drug case was pardoned by ex-Gov. Matt Bevin in 2019: “A Kentucky man pardoned by the former governor for a deadly drunken driving crash has been arrested on drug charges and driving under the influence of alcohol.”

Convicted child rapist pardoned by Bevin drops expungement request: “A northern Kentucky man convicted of repeatedly raping and sodomizing a girl when she was 9 to 12 years old who was pardoned by former Gov. Matt Bevin has withdrawn his request to expunge those crimes from his record. Bevin pardoned Micah Schoettle in 2019, just before Bevin’s term ended. The former governor was criticized nationally for pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 650 people after he lost his re-election campaign.”

Campbell man pardoned by Bevin files for office: “I think it’s very concerning that someone who has been prosecuted and convicted of a felony will have arrest powers,” said Sen. Wil Schroder (R-Wilder). “My hope is that someone who is qualified steps up to run against him.”

Previous headlines:

On His Way Out, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Pardons Murderers, Rapists, Hundreds More: “Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin departed the governor’s mansion three days ago, but the reverberations of some of his final actions are still being felt across the state. Bevin, a Republican who narrowly lost a bid for a second term last month, issued pardons to hundreds of people, including convicted rapists, murderers and drug offenders. In one case, Bevin pardoned a man convicted of homicide. That man’s family raised more than $20,000 at a political fundraiser to help Bevin pay off a debt owed from his 2015 gubernatorial campaign.”

Bevin pardons include convicted killer whose brother hosted campaign fundraiser for him: The family of a man pardoned by Gov. Matt Bevin for a homicide and other crimes in a fatal 2014 Knox County home invasion raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year to retire debt from Bevin’s 2015 gubernatorial campaign. The brother and sister-in-law of offender Patrick Brian Baker also gave $4,000 to Bevin’s campaign on the day of the fundraiser, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance database.

Federal officials investigate link between former Gov. Matt Bevin pardon and fundraiser: “Two years after then-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned a convicted killer whose family hosted a political fundraiser for the governor, the FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating the executive action.”

Man let out of prison by Bevin pleads guilty in child porn case: “A Hopkinsville man who pleaded guilty in state court in 2016 in a sex crimes case involving a teenage boy, whose sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Matt Bevin before leaving office in 2019, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge stemming from the case, according to court documents.”

Matt Bevin commutes sentence of man who faced death penalty: “No one from the Bevin administration gave any warning this was coming. If they had, we’d have shown them why these rapists and killers were behind bars to begin with. These pardons regurgitate false statements of defense attorneys that juries of Kentucky citizens obviously didn’t believe.”###