Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Hampshire: Mother Supports Pardon for Her Daughter's Killer

It is one of the most fascinating, moving stories of forgiveness and mercy that you will ever hear ... or, it is one of the best book-selling gimmicks to come along since Scott McClellan grew a conscience. The Union Leader reports Lylah Rose Goldwater had actually planned on killing Shayne Pitts, but felt like her daughter's voice was telling her not to go through with it. Pitts had murdered Goldwater's 19-year old pregnant daughter, Melody, by shooting her twice in the head and once in the back. But, instead, Goldwater is said to have "reached out" to Pitts and "channeled" her grief into co-authoring a book with him.

Goldwater has also requested that Pitts be pardoned - something one state official calls "a first" in her 22 years of processing applications. Goldwater support clemency because she has learned that her daughter's killer is not a "monster" and that his father "disappeared" and one of his neighbors shot himself. On top of all of that, his mother and stepfather (who abused drugs and alcohol) split up after they both attempted suicide.

Pitts (who received a 40-year sentence) claims he does not remember everything about the day of the murder but does remember that he did not kill Melody "intentionally." He says he did not feel well though, and suspects that someone "slipped" him some drugs. He also says that is was "rough" not telling anyone about the murder for three months. Today, he feels "down" at times.

Meanwhile, Goldwater is searching for a literary agent to plug her book to potential publishers.

Pardons are not flying around in the air of New Hampshire though. Gov. John Lynch (D) and the Executive Council have rejected every request to grant a hearing since 2005. Nine cases are currently pending. According to Union Leader, of 319 requests processed since 1986, only 10 pardons have been granted. And the was in 2003 under Gov. Craig Benson (R). See story Union Leader story here.

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