TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Jim Morrison was posthumously pardoned Thursday for a 1970 indecent exposure conviction in Florida, a move a woman who said she was married to The Doors lead singer called a cheap political ploy.
Morrison, a Florida native, was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27. The pardon came a day after the singer would have turned 67.
Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist asked for the pardon, which the Clemency Board granted unanimously. Crist said he doubts Morrison actually exposed his penis during a rowdy March 1, 1969 concert at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. He and a three-member Cabinet serve as the Clemency Board. The surviving members of The Doors supported the pardon.
Crist at the hearing called the conviction a "blot" on the record of an accomplished artist for "something he may or may not have done." He said Morrison died before he was afforded the chance to present his appeal, so Crist was doing that for him. Board members pointed out several times that they couldn't retry the case but that the pardon forgave Morrison, as others were absolved of their convictions on Thursday.
"In this case the guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours," Crist said.
Patricia Kennealy Morrison told The Associated Press before the board's action that she's not pleased with the pardon and doesn't think the late singer would be either because he didn't expose himself on stage. The conviction should be expunged or the verdict overturned rather than just pardoned, she said.
"The pardon says that all his suffering and all that he went through during the trial, everything both of us went through, was negated," she said.
Earlier, when asked about expunging Morrison's record or overturning the conviction, Crist said, "The option before us is the pardon or not."
Still, it's not enough, Kennealy Morrison said.
"He felt and he expressed to me on numerous occasions that he had been made a scapegoat of the counterculture movement," Kennealy Morrison said. "He was out there doing what he did, making himself a really easy target because he felt very strongly about it. Unfortunately they decided to go after him for it. It was a complete cheap, cynical, political ploy. That's the way I feel about the pardon."
Kennealy Morrison exchanged vows with Morrison in a Celtic pagan ceremony overseen by a licensed minister, she said. The marriage was valid, though she says she never filed the paperwork to put it in the books. Morrison left his entire estate to another woman, Pamela Courson, a longtime girlfriend who was with him in Paris when he died. Courson died in 1974.
Surviving band members say a drunken Morrison teased the crowd, but never exposed himself.
"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player, said in an interview before the vote.
Laboy reported from Miami.
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