Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has denied that he played a major role in obtaining an early parole for a convicted rapist who killed a woman after his release.
Wayne Dumond was sentenced to life plus 20 years for the 1984 kidnapping and rape of a 17-year-old girl. After Huckabee took office as the Republican governor of Arkansas in 1996, he said he intended to commute the sentence of Dumond, whose victim was a relative of former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.
Dumond was set free by the Arkansas parole board in 1997, and Huckabee said he concurred with the board’s decision.
Dumond was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering another woman in Missouri after his release, and he died in prison in 2005.
In October, Huckabee told the Boston Globe that he thought Dumond’s sentence was unusually long for a person convicted of rape. But on Wednesday, while acknowledging that he did meet with the parole board regarding Dumond, Huckabee told reporters: “I did not ask them to do anything.”
He also spoke with CNN about the Dumond controversy, saying: “My only official action in this was I denied his commutation … It was on my desk. I did consider it. I even thought that he met the criteria for parole in support of it. I wish I hadn’t. But I didn’t parole him. Governors don’t parole people in Arkansas, nor can they stop a parole.”
He went on to suggest that the Dumond case has been revisited now because of his recent surge in the polls.
“For people to now … try to make a political case out of it, rather than to simply understand that a system failed and that we ought to extend our grief and heartfelt sorrow to these families, I just regret that politics is reduced to that.”
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