Democratic Governor of Louisiana Pardons 40 Convicted Murderers
As one of his final acts before leaving office, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) has decided to pardon some 56 inmates. At least 40 of the released prisoners are convicted murderers (11 of them being from the greater New Orleans area); others are guilty of rape, armed robbery, theft, aggravated kidnapping, arson, perjury, and possession of Schedule II narcotics. At least one individual had been on death row.
The state of Louisiana has the second-highest murder rate in the country and one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, with roughly 1,094 per 100,000 residents facing some form of incarceration. A new report from MoneyGeek on the monetary cost of violent crime ranked New Orleans, LA as the second worst city in the US following Birmingham, AL.
Edwards, who has served as Governor of Louisiana since 2015, campaigned on promises to reduce the state’s prison population and help it remove the unwanted title ‘World’s Prison Capital.’ In 2017, he signed legislation that shortened prison sentences, funded education programs for ex-offenders, and expanded eligibility requirements for parole.
“For as long as I can remember, Louisiana reflexively responded to an increase in crime by putting more people in prison and keeping them there longer,” said Edwards. “We’ve never been made safer as a result of that.”
Regardless of whether the state was made safer by locking its criminals behind bars, it certainly won’t be made safer by letting them out.
Among those being released:
- Nick Charles Nicholson, who stabbed a convenience store worker 39 times during an armed robbery committed in 1981. During the autopsy, pathologists discovered the broken tip of a blade stuck inside the victim’s skull.
- Frederick Kirkpatrick, who invaded a home in Pearl River and killed its sole inhabitant before robbing the place and setting it on fire in 1982.
- David Rushing, who brutally murdered and then robbed a taxi driver after attempting to rob a convenience store in 1983. He was pardoned just seven hours before he was scheduled to visit the electric chair.
Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, will be leaving office in early January after reaching the state’s gubernatorial term limit. He is being replaced by Jeff Landry, a Trump-backed Republican who served in the House of Representatives from 2011-2013 and as Louisiana’s Attorney General from 2016-2023.
“Today’s election says that our state is united,” proclaimed Landry in October after winning more than 50% of the vote. “It’s a wake up call and it’s a message that everyone should hear loud and clear, that we the people in this state are going to expect more out of our government from here on out.”
Landry, a supporter of tougher prison sentences and capital punishment, intends to spearhead a serious crackdown on violent crime and boost transparency within the police system. He had promised to hire more police officers and hold a special legislative session on crime, but has not yet revealed any specific proposals.
Edwards, a longtime rival of Landry who wants to remove the death penalty altogether, fears his successor will rollback all of his so-called prison and justice reforms.
“Things will not get better until we have leaders who have the courage to stand up and make it a priority,” reads Landry’s campaign website. “As Governor, Jeff Landry will prioritize safety in our communities and continue to be a leading voice on public safety in our state…We must close the revolving door of criminals who commit a crime, get caught, go to jail for a brief period, and re-offend.”
There are currently 57 inmates on death row in Louisiana, but the state has not executed anyone since 2010 when convicted sex offender Gerald Bordelon was killed after kidnapping and strangling his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Bordelon requested the death penalty, stating that he would continue to commit crimes if he were to be released. Edwards’s decision to pardon people like Bordelon is nothing short of unconscionable and I fear the impact it will have on the law-abiding citizens of Louisiana.
Louisiana’s outgoing anti-prison Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards pardons 56 inmates – including 40 MURDERERS – after shortening sentences and increasing paroles in a bid to lose the state’s position as the country’s biggest jailer