In one of his last acts before leaving office, Governor Matt Bevin has pardoned a Kentucky man convicted of sexually abusing his young stepdaughter. The man is serving a life sentence stemming from the alleged crime 20 years ago.
Paul Donel Hurt was convicted in Jefferson County in 2001 of sodomizing and sexually abusing the girl, who was six at the time of the crime.
“Hindsight is never truly 20\20, but it appears to me and to many others, including the judge who sentenced him, that Paul Donel Hurt has been wrongly convicted and imprisoned for nearly 20 years,” Bevin wrote in his executive order.
The Courier Journal reports that Hurt’s accuser recanted her testimony in 2015. However, the trial court did not set aside the conviction, with the judge ruling that her recantation was an inconsistent “shifting account” that was “no more likely to be true than false.”
The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in 2018.
Bevin commuted Hurt’s sentence to time served, granting him an unconditional pardon and restoring his rights and privileges as a citizen of Kentucky.
Governor Bevin issued pardons to 15 other people on Friday, including three women who were victims of domestic violence and who were convicted in the deaths of their abusers.