UPDATED: Delaware Panel Recommends Commuting Convicted Murderer’s Sentence

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The Delaware Board of Pardons has recommended that Governor John Carney commute the sentence of Tyrone Baxter, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 1982 murder of a Dover liquor store owner.

Baxter’s plea was in exchange for testifying against co-defendant James Riley, who was initially sentenced to death, but following a retrial received life imprisonment.  While both men decided to rob the liquor store owner – Baxter was not the shooter in this incident.

The Board heard from Baxter, his supporters as well as the son of murder victim James Feeley.

If Governor Carney, a Democrat grants the commutation, Baxter would still have to go through the parole process.

From the Board of Pardon’s website – A pardon is an act of executive grace that completely eliminates all consequences of a conviction. However, a pardon does not remove the record of conviction. A pardon removes any further punishment and restores civil rights. A pardon does not remove the historical fact of the conviction from the state’s official arrest and conviction records; it simply adds to the record that a pardon has been granted.

A commutation is a reduction of sentence for a person who is currently incarcerated. A commutation does not eliminate the consequences of a conviction but only reduces the time served or changes the terms of release specified in the initial sentence.