Disabled Man Executed in 1939 Pardoned in Colorado

Friday, 07 Jan 2011 04:53 PM

 

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DENVER (AP) — A mentally disabled man executed more than 70 years ago has been pardoned in Colorado.

Outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday awarded a posthumous pardon to 23-year-old Joe Arridy, who was executed in 1939 by lethal gas after being convicted of killing a Pueblo girl with a hatchet.

Ritter said an overwhelming amount of evidence suggests Arridy didn't commit the crime.

He had an I.Q. of 46 — too low to be considered for the death penalty today. Arridy appears to have given a coerced confession and was likely not in Pueblo when the 15-year-old girl was killed.

Ritter is a former prosecutor who leaves office Tuesday. He called the Arridy case a "tragic conviction."

It's the first time a Colorado governor has pardoned someone who has been executed.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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