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Hickenlooper commutes sentences for 6 convicted murderers, pardons man who committed crime as teen

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has announced 21 new pardons and 12 commuted sentences for inmates.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Friday that he has granted 21 pardons and reduced the sentences of 12 other inmates who his office believes has a “proven track record of rehabilitation.”

Six of the inmates who now have reduced sentences – which either means they’ve been granted parole or their dates have been moved up – have been convicted of murder.

Another inmate, Promise Y. Lee, has been granted a pardon, according to the governor’s office. Lee pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in El Paso County in 1975. He was 15 years old at the time, the governor wrote in a letter.

“I made this decision because of the work you have done to transform your community,” Hickenlooper wrote. “In particular, you have focused on youth growing up in difficult circumstances and helped them avoid the path you took as an adolescent.”

Lee’s pardon does not restore his right to own a gun.

Two of the murderers who have received a reduced sentence per Hickenlooper’s order were convicted of crimes before they were legally adults.

One of them, Nathan Ybanez, was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for a crime he committed when he was 16. In his clemency letter, Hickenlooper said he believes mitigating factors in Ybanez’s home and family life were not discussed during the trail, and that in the years since, Ybanez has devoted himself to writing poetry and enrolling in college courses.

RELATED: Governor John Hickenlooper issues 23 new pardons

“He has had a significant impact on almost everyone who has come into contact with him, including other offenders, DOC staff, his pro bono attorneys, and others,” Hickenlooper wrote.

A court ruling has since made life sentences to juveniles illegal, and Ybanez would now be eligible for parole on Dec. 1, 2020.

Another inmate, Terrance Wilder, received a commutation because even after his life sentence was reduced, his other sentences did not change and his estimated date of parole was 2104, according to Hickenlooper’s letter.

Wilder committed his crime when was 17 and will be eligible for parole after he has served 40 years in prison. He was first sentenced in 1999, according to the letter.

The other convicted murderers who received  a commutation are John Sherman, Bruce Mingo, David Coleman and Dwight Anderson, according to governor’s office.

The other pardons involved everything from drug crimes to burglary.

You can read all of the pardons here: bit.ly/2RdvJQV

Hickenlooper, who is term-limited, announced 23 new pardons last month. 

Last week, Hickenlooper asked for the release of Curtis Brooks, who was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in a fatal carjacking when he was 15. 

Since entering prison, his attorneys said Brooks has learned several languages and earned his GED -- despite the fact he had no hope for release. 

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