Gov. Matt Bevin signed an executive order that was filed with the Secretary of State on Wednesday that commuted the sentence of Blake Walker, who was convicted as a teenager of murdering his parents in their Knifley home in 2003.
Walker was 16 when he shot his parents, Brian Walker and Barbara Peterson. He admitted to the shooting in court, showed a great deal of remorse and said his father verbally abused him. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years. He has now served half of his life in prison.
In writing the order, Bevin wrote, "it is not possible for me to capture my full thought process as I have weighed the decision of how to handle the commutation and pardon request from Blake Walker." He goes on to write there is a fine and delicate balance between justice and mercy, between a sentence that serves a purpose for everyone and a sentence that does not serve a purpose for anyone.
He noted that Walker is blessed by a loving and forgiving family "and it is this alone that tips the delicate balance in the direction of his request..."
A family member, Jim Peterson, of Louisville, has been an advocate for Walker's release. He hosts a Facebook page called Advocates 4 Blake. The page information states that the mission is to "help educate the public about mass incarceration, over sentencing, and shine a light on our tragic prison system that most people know nothing about. This blog was originally started to garner support for our cousin Blake Walker and his family, speak of forgiveness, and remember his parents. As time has gone by I have come to realize the system’s problems dwarf Blake and affect millions of people."
Walker has been housed at Luther Luckett Correctional Facility, a medium/maximum security facility.
More coverage will be available in next week's printed edition of the Community Voice.
Text from Gov. Bevin's Executive Order:
WHEREAS, Blake Peterson Walker was convicted in Adair County Circuit Court in 2003 of two counts of murder; and
WHEREAS, it is not possible for me to capture my full thought process as I have weighed the decision of how to handle the commutation and pardon request from Blake Walker; and
WHEREAS, there is a fine and delicate balance between justice and mercy, between a sentence that serves a purpose for everyone and a sentence that does not serve a purpose for anyone; and
WHEREAS, Blake Walker is blessed by a loving and forgiving family and it is this alone that tips the delicate balance in the direction of his request; and
WHEREAS, Blake Walker committed a crime for which only God can provide true forgiveness. Even so, with the authority granted to be by the Kentucky Constitution, I hereby commute his sentence and pardon him so that he can proceed with his life, unrestricted in his efforts to serve the world and the needs of others in a way that would best honor the lives and life work of his mother and father:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Matthew G. Bevin, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, in consideration of the foregoing, and by the virtue of the authority vested in me by Sections 77, 145, and 150 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, do hereby commute the sentence of Blake Peterson Walker to time served and simultaneously grant him a full and unconditional pardon and return to him all rights and privileges of a citizen of this Commonwealth.
Received and filed in the Secretary of States Office on December 11, 2019.