Six Virginia felons receive conditional pardons from Gov. McAuliffe

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager
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RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed conditional pardons for six Virginians on Friday.

“Virginia’s first responsibility to its citizens is to keep their families and communities safe,” said McAuliffe in a news release. “As we uphold that responsibility, we must continuously strive to ensure that the punishments offenders receive are commensurate with the crime they committed. Each of these Virginians, some of whom committed their offense as juveniles, was convicted for a serious crime that should have resulted in their incarceration and rehabilitation. However, the sentence that they received was far outside what should have been adequate to keep Virginia safe."

Gov.McAuliffe issued pardons to the following individuals:

Travis Hassan May (View pardon order) – May was sentenced to 160 years in prison for a string of armed robberies in which no one was injured and that occurred when he was only 16 years old, according to the governor.  He has served more than 20 years in prison. While in prison, May has had a sterling record, completed numerous educational and rehabilitation courses and won the support of numerous individuals.

McAuliffe pardoned May on the condition that he complete the Department of Corrections re-entry program prior to release and enter a three-year period of supervised release.

Travion Blount (View complete pardon order) –  Blount was 15 years old when he, together with two older men, held up a house party in which no one was seriously injured, according to the governor.  He was offered a plea deal for 14 years incarceration but wanted to proceed to a jury trial.  He was convicted and given numerous life sentences plus 118 years incarceration. Gov. McDonnell reduced his sentence to 40 years, which effectively destroyed Blount’s legal case that his conviction violated the constitutional prohibition on sentencing juveniles to life without parole. One of Blount’s co-defendants is already released and the other is expected to be released in 2018.

McAuliffe issued a partial pardon, further reducing Blount’s sentence to 14 years, the amount of his original plea offer.  This is conditioned on meeting good behavior conditions set by the Virginia Parole Board, successfully completing the re-entry program and entering a three-year period of supervised release.   

Messiah Johnson (View complete pardon order) – Messiah Johnson was sentenced to 132 years in prison for a single armed robbery in which no one was injured.  Johnson has served more than 20 years for this crime and the governor's office says there are serious questions about his guilt.

McAuliffe pardoned Johnson on the condition that he complete the Department of Corrections re-entry program prior to release and enter a three-year period of supervised release.  The pardon is issued without prejudice to his absolute pardon petition or other judicial remedies.

Leonard Lenon Singleton (View pardon order) – After serving his country in the United States Navy, Leonard “Lenny” Singleton became addicted to drugs and spiraled into a pattern of criminal behavior in which he robbed a number of individuals over the better part of a year.  No serious injuries occurred and yet he was sentenced to two life sentences plus 110 years. Singleton has taken great advantage of the Department of Corrections programs for education and rehabilitation and has been a model inmate for over a decade. 

McAuliffe pardoned Singleton on the condition that he complete the Department of Corrections re-entry program prior to release and enter a three-year period of supervised release.

Adrian Earl Davis (View pardon order) – Davis was sentenced to 38 years in prison for a series of robberies that occurred over a short period.  The judge sentenced him because, at the time, he believed the mandatory minimum sentences had to run consecutively and not concurrently, which has been changed by a subsequent decision of the Virginia Supreme Court. Davis has significantly rehabilitated himself and been a model inmate, according to the governor's office.

McAuliffe pardoned Davis on the condition that he complete the Department of Corrections re-entry program prior to release and enter a three-year period of supervised release.

Tawana Simmons Terry (View pardon order) – Terry was sentenced to 30 years in prison for distributing $80 worth of crack cocaine.  She has been a model inmate during her almost decade-long incarceration, completing numerous educational and rehabilitation programs, according to the governor's office.  She is the mother of three children, with whom she will be reunited after release. 

McAuliffe pardoned Terry on the condition that she complete the Department of Corrections re-entry program prior to release and enter a three-year period of supervised release.

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