NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gov. Bill Lee announced executive clemency decisions for 16 people on Thursday, in addition to granting expedited parole eligibility to 30 people jailed under a recently amended drug sentencing law.
A total of 13 people who have completed their time in prison and are no longer incarcerated were granted executive pardons for crimes ranging from burglary to various drug charges.
The governor also commuted the parole of 78-year-old William Mee, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1981 in Meigs County, and granted two women currently incarcerated in Davidson County on murder charges expedited parole eligibility.
Lee said he made his decisions after a thorough review of the merits of each case and in consolation with the Tennessee Board of Parole, which issues non-binding recommendations for each case.
“Each individual case is unique and warranted consideration, and I thank the Board of Parole members for their thoughtful recommendations throughout this process,” Lee said.
Mee has been living in his community on parole since 2004. According to the governor’s office, he has not had any violations or reprimands in nearly 30 years and has since apologized to his victim’s family. Mee completed vocational training while in prison and is now a barber.
Tabitha White and Alicia Williams were granted expedited parole eligibility. The grant does not guarantee they will be released from prison, but it speeds up their consideration for parole. The governor’s office reported the Board of Parole will hold individual hearings for them.
White was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 in Davidson County. However, her case history caused one Board of Parole member to conclude that “the justice system erred in the overall disposition of the severity of the punishment in this case.”
White’s conviction was originally overturned on an appeal before ultimately being reinstated on a split decision. The governor’s office said, White has “demonstrated great strides towards self-improvement,” with vocational training and life skills courses.
Williams was convicted of second-degree murder in 2012 in Davidson County at the age of 22. According to the governor’s office, she had no prior record before her conviction and has served the majority of her sentence in prison. She also has completed more than 50 reentry courses.
The following people were granted pardons:
- Jimmy Lee Clausel, Hardin County
- Jacqueline Clements, Hamilton County
- Tara Duncan-Rodriguez, Hamilton County
- Najeeb Farhat, Knox County
- Randy Fleming, Williamson County
- Ryan Herron, Warren County and Dekalb County
- Kimberly Kerby, Shelby County
- Jason Moore, Rutherford County
- James Norris, Warren County
- Randy Pool, Crockett County
- Audria Reeves, Chester County
- Stephen Robinson, Hardeman County
- Aaron Dewayne Vaught, Bradley County
The governor also granted expedited parole eligibility to 30 people, following the Tennessee General Assembly’s recent action to amend the state law about drug-free school zone (DFSZ) offenses by changing the circumstances in which enhanced sentencing may apply.
A new clemency review process for drug-free school zone offenses was established last year. All of the individuals are currently incarcerated, and the Board of Parole will hold hearings for them. None of them will be released immediately, according to the governor’s office.
“In light of recent updates to Tennessee state law, I have made the decision to grant parole eligibility to certain low-level drug offenders who merit consideration for an expedited review of their sentence,” Lee said. “Each parole hearing will be considered individually, and the Board of Parole will determine the appropriate outcome.”
The following people received drug-free school zone eligibility grants:
- David Beets, Knox County
- Dustin Blevins, Sullivan County
- Wesley Box, Shelby County
- Joana Brooks, Sullivan County
- Bernard Campbell, Knox County
- Kristina Cole, Shelby County
- Timothy Farrar, Bedford County
- Raphael Ferguson, Knox County
- Jordashe Franklin, Knox County
- William Frost, Knox County
- Jerry Hall, Henderson County
- Tina Hargrove, Humphreys County
- Erica Harris, Knox County
- Jeremy Hipshire, Johnson County
- Jacob Hoilman, Cocke County
- Steve Humphrey, Carter County
- Brandon Jarnigan, Hamblen County
- Laquan Johnson, Putnam County
- Justin Lane, Sullivan County
- Jermaine Marsh Sr., Knox County
- Brandon McKinley, Loudon County
- Alonzo Norman, Sullivan County
- James Parker, Sullivan County
- James Sanchez, Sullivan County
- Eugene Taylor, Williamson County
- Brandy Wellman, Carter County
- Tony Williams, Knox County
- Waynard Winbush, Knox County
- Angelo Young, Knox County