Feds Charge Convicted Killer Pardoned by GOP Governor

Patrick Baker served just 2 years before he was pardoned by Kentucky governor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2021 7:54 PM CDT
Killer Pardoned by Governor Faces Federal Murder Charge
This Sunday, May 30, 2021 booking photo released by the Laurel County, Ky., Correctional Center shows Patrick Baker.   (Laurel County Correctional Center via AP)

When former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned hundreds of people after his 2019 election loss, he said he was a "big believer in second chances." Authorities now have a second chance to put one of them back behind bars. Convicted killer Patrick Baker has been arrested on a federal charge of murder committed during a robbery and kidnapping related to drug trafficking, reports the AP. The charges relate to the shooting death of Donald Mills during a 2014 home invasion, which led to Baker's conviction on state charges including reckless homicide and robbery. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2017 but served just two years before he was pardoned.

Baker's 2019 pardon was especially controversial because his family had hosted a fundraiser for Bevin and donated thousands of dollars to the Republican's campaign, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. "We knew corruption was involved with the former pardon of Patrick Baker," says Melinda Mills, the slain man's sister. "He knows he's guilty, so does everybody else." Legal experts say that despite constitutional protections against double jeopardy, Baker can be legally prosecuted under the "dual sovereignty doctrine," which allows state and federal authorities to prosecute somebody for the same actions. Baker, who also faces a federal drug trafficking charge, appeared in federal court Tuesday and was told the maximum sentence he could face is the death penalty. (Read more Kentucky stories.)

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