“My intent to grant clemency to Mr. McGehee is based partly on the recommendation of the Parole Board to commute his sentence from Death to Life Without Parole,” said Governor Hutchinson. “In making this decision I considered many factors including the entire trial transcript, meetings with members of the victim’s family and the recommendation of the Parole Board. In addition, the disparity in sentence given to Mr. McGehee compared to the sentences of his co-defendants was a factor in my decision, as well.”McGehee was convicted Jan. 8, 1998 of capital murder for killing John Melbourne Jr. The presiding judge recommended clemency. The Boone County prosecutor and sheriff objected.
"Today Governor Hutchinson announced his intention to commute Jason McGehee’s sentence from death to life without parole. In doing so, he accepted what the Arkansas Parole Board previously acknowledged: that Jason’s youth at the time of his offense and his rehabilitation while in prison make him deserving of clemency. This is a just outcome given that Jason’s equally culpable co-defendants are serving sentences less than death. Jason’s case offers a prime example of why clemency is a necessary part of capital sentencing. The Governor has used this power appropriately and wisely here. We are grateful for his decision to show mercy."