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Kin against clemency
By JOHN HOFHEIMER - Leader staff writer
>>> IN SHORT>>> Helen Spencer was killed 30 years ago. Her family doesn't want the governor to free her killer, while area prosecutors propose more accountability from the governor in the commutation process. [FULL STORY]

Former cop rips pardon
By JOHN HOFHEIMER
AND RICK KRON

Leader staff writers
>>> IN SHORT>>> However Helen Spencer died, her murderer should spend the rest of his life in prison for his brutal acts. [FULL STORY]

Why parole a monster like Green?

____Gov. Huckabee probably never read the confession of a demented killer named Glen Green before he made the monster eligible for parole.
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Green's confession is so depraved, its sadistic details so scary that no sane, responsible adult would consider him for parole.
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If the governor didn't read the confession, he is guilty of dereliction of duty.
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But if he read the confession and still considers Green deserving of parole, he's certainly unfit to hold office. Who would free a madman who beat an 18-year-old woman with Chinese martial-arts sticks, raped her as she barely clung to life, ran over her with his car, then dumped her in the bayou, her hand reaching up, as if begging for mercy?
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We're publishing the gruesome picture of Green's victim on the front page because we believe her hand is reaching up to demand justice.
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In usual fashion, Huckabee's office didn't even contact the victim's family about the clemency.
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Although he's required to by the Constitution, the governor, as is his custom, won't say why he granted clemency to this crazed killer (over the unanimous objections of the Post-Prison Transfer Board).
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Huckabee apparently listened to Green's minister (and a friend of the governor), who thinks the murder was an accident and Green was forced to confess.
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The Jacksonville police, who arrested Green in 1974 after a witness linked him to the crime, think the minister and Huckabee are both delusional, which is the mildest epitaph we can print.
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This old police reporter knows a genuine confession when he sees one, and Green's depravity has the ring of truth.
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Green, a 22-year-old sergeant, kidnapped Helen Lynette Spencer on Little Rock Air Force Base, where he beat and kicked her as he tried to rape her in a secluded area. She broke loose and ran toward the barracks' parking lot, where he caught up with her and beat her with a pair of nunchucks.
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He then stuffed her into the trunk of his car and left her there while he cleaned up. Several hours later, he drove down Graham Road, past Loop Road and stopped near a bridge in Lonoke County. Green told investigators he put her body in the front seat and raped her because her body was still warm.
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He dragged Spencer out of his vehicle and put her in front of the car and ran over her several times, going back and forth. He then collected himself long enough to dump her body in Twin Prairie Bayou.
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This is what the Rev. Johnny Jackson, interim pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Jacksonville, calls an accident, and apparently Huckabee believes him.
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"There is no doubt in my mind that he could kill again," warns Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley.
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The crime started out in his jurisdiction and ended in Lonoke County, where Prosecutor Lona McCastlain has also spoken out against the clemency.
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"Life means life," she said, referring to Green's sentence after he plead guilty to Spencer's kidnapping, rape and murder.
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As he grants clemency to scores of violent criminals, Huckabee's motives are the subject of speculation: Why, people are asking, is he doing it? After studying the record for several weeks, all one can say is that his actions perhaps reflect a combination of arrogance and avarice and ignorance.
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While his fellow governors keep electing him to top positions in their little club, he has alienated Arkansans of both parties. They're shocked at not only the amazing number of clemencies but also at the way he ignores the suffering of the victims' families, who are always the last to know when their loved one's killer is up for parole.
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Bilenda Harris-Ritter, an attorney who now lives in California, is one of those people who worry all the time that Huckabee might free the man who killed their relatives. Harris-Ritter's parents were murdered in north Arkansas, and she has had to deal with heartless state bureaucrats as she fights to keep the killer locked up.
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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently named Harris-Ritter chairman of the Public Employees Board, which oversees collective-bargaining agreements among 7,000 employers and 2 million employees.
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She is upset that our governor has not been more forthright about his clemencies.
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"Huckabee is required by law to make certain notifications. When he does not, the pardon should be voidable," she told us.
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She continued, "The people of the good state of Arkansas (and I really mean that) need to think seriously about impeachment."
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When told that many people consider Huckabee our worst governor in recent memory, Harris-Ritter replied, "No argument from me, and I am a Republican!"

Next: Harris-Ritter's crusade

--- Past Articles

Huckabee's dubious achievement
Governor sets record for clemencies
____Gov. Huckabee is on a roll: He has freed more convicts than all of his recent predecessors combined – more than 10 times as many as Gov. Clinton during a 10-year period from 1983 to 1992. [FULL STORY]

Governor goes own way on pardons
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Prosecutors across Arkansas have had their differences with Gov. Huckabee's generous pardons policy, but what bothers them the most is Huckabee's superior attitude when they dare to object. [FULL STORY]

Prosecutors seek more openness on pardons
___When you talk to prosecutors around the state, many of them will tell you they're unhappy that Gov. Huckabee pardons criminals without letting law-enforcement officials or victims' families know why he's doing it, as he's required by law.
[FULL STORY]

Huckabee, prosecutors go on offensive
___They trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs

___Several prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer. [FULL STORY]

B.B. goes home then to funeral
___B.B. King didn't seem his usual old self last weekend when he was performing in his hometown of Indianola, Miss.
___ He put on two fine shows in one evening, but he seemed a bit distracted.
[FULL STORY]

Clintons in lovefest with Bush
___If there's anything more unappealing than watching politicians mud wrestle, it's watching them pretend they like each other.
___Oozing insincerity, Presi-dent Bush praised his predecessor on Monday during an unveiling of the Clintons' official (and utterly mediocre) White House portraits.
[FULL STORY]

World-class blues played near here
___A couple of great blues musicians showed up at Sticky Fingerz in Little Rock on Thursday night.
___ Michael Burks, probably Arkansas' most talented young bluesman, dropped in to catch Deborah Coleman and her band and he was impressed.
[FULL STORY]

What if...
Reagan had won in '76
___Millions of words and thousands of images have filled newspapers and television screens since the passing of Ronald Reagan on Saturday.
___Friends, colleagues, politicians and scholars have discussed every facet of his remarkable life: How he started out poor, became a Holly-wood star, found a second career on television, then a third as a corporate spokesman, and yet another, more spectacular career as a politician.
___ His life has been thoroughly examined this week, but one crucial period and its consequences are virtually overlooked: His losing out to President Ford for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1976, which, it could be argued, helped the Soviets stay in power for several more years. [FULL STORY]

These Vets couldn't go to unveiling
___Uncle Albert Jonikas couldn't make it to the dedication of the World War II memorial over the weekend.
___He's an 84-year-old veteran of the Second World War who saw action in the Pacific - Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, which was near where the Japanese surrendered - but he doesn't get around much anymore. [FULL STORY]