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Outgoing Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards pardons 56 inmates, 40 of whom were convicted of murder
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Outgoing Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards pardons 56 inmates, 40 of whom were convicted of murder

The Louisiana governor who is headed out of office has reportedly pardoned 56 inmates since October 2022, including many who have been convicted of murder.

Fox News Digital reported that due to 1,094 people per 100,000 currently incarcerated in some form, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards made it his goal to reduce that number during his final term in office. However, this means that many convicted murderers have been pardoned by the governor.

"For as long as I can remember, Louisiana reflexively responded to an increase in crime by putting more people in prison and keeping them there longer," Edwards said.

"We've never been made safer as a result of that," Edwards continued. "There is no data to suggest that an increase in crime here was because of the reforms."

Edwards has also decided to release those who have been convicted of drug dealing, robbery, and arson, according to the report. And a total of 40 convicted murders have been pardoned by Edwards over the course of three months.

The Daily Mail reported that among those released under Edwards was a man who was just hours away from being put in the electric chair for the murder of a taxi driver in 1983.

The inmate's name is David Rushing, of New Orleans, who was 18 when he confessed that he fatally shot the taxi driver after his attempt to rob a convenience store and gas station was thwarted.

Though he was ultimately sentenced to death, his lawyers successfully appealed, noting prosecutorial misconduct and an ineffective defense, per the report.

Another convicted murderer whom Edwards pardoned was Anthony Riggins, who shot and killed a 68-year-old shopkeeper in a New Orleans suburb. He was convicted of the crime in 1977.

A third convicted murderer released under Edwards was Benson Dean Vampran, who was found guilty of murdering a hitchhiker in 1984 and raping his wife. He was 25 at the time of the crimes.

Despite these alarming developments, Edwards said that he was proud of the work he has done over the past eight years.

"When I leave office, the state of Louisiana will be better than it was when I took office," he said, citing a host of issues that he intended to tackle during his tenure.

He went on to suggest that reducing the number of those in prison was a step in the right direction, according to the Daily Mail.

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