Pennsylvania’s freshman Senator John Fetterman wasted no time in Congress to advertise his criminal justice reform mindset, showcasing a convicted murderer who spent nearly three decades in prison for heinous crimes as some sort of courageous act.
As Breitbart reported, Dennis Horton was found guilty of a 1993 armed robbery that resulted in the shooting death of one man and attempted shootings of two other people. He was commuted in 2021 in large part due to Fetterman, then the Keystone State’s Lieutenant Governor, overseeing Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons
Dennis Horton was found guilty of second-degree murder, along with his brother Lee Horton, stemming from a 1993 fatal shooting during a Philadelphia robbery, as Breitbart News reported. They both maintained their innocence throughout their prison terms, which lasted nearly three decades before they were granted clemency by then-Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) in 2021 at the recommendation of the state’s five-person Board of Pardons, chaired by then-Lt. Gov. Fetterman.
Fetterman shared a tweet of him and his evening’s guest simply captioned as saying, “We’re ready.”
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) February 8, 2023
Amazingly, Fetterman isn’t even pretending the man is innocent or wrongly convicted. In a statement to news outlets, the stroke victim
“The incarceration of Dennis and Lee for a crime they did not commit is a stark reminder of the work we need to do to make our criminal justice system more equitable and fair,” Fetterman’s statement began.
“I fought for their commutations and countless others as chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, and as your U.S. Senator I will continue to push for second chances for those who deserve them. We should not be a society about vengeance, we should be a society about redemption,” it added.
Not addressed is how releasing violent murderers is equitable to the victims, the victims’ families, or even remotely fair in the sense of true justice. Justice is served when punishment is meted out according to the severity of the crime; not the complete disregard for stealing a human life.
Prior to the commutation of his prison sentence, Horton had previously failed to convince appeal courts to overturn his conviction. In the same year he was eventually released, Horton had failed in his bid with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to have his case reexamined. A statement by the entity said, in part:
The evidence adduced at trial established that on May 31, 1993, Horton, his brother Lee Horton (“Lee”), and a co-conspirator Robert Leaf (“Leaf”) robbed Filito’s Bar located at 5th Street and Hunting Park Avenue. During the course of the robbery, [Horton], who was carrying a rifle, shot Samuel Alemo multiple times. Alemo later died from his gunshot wounds.
[Horton] also shot Luz Archella and her daughter Luz Martinez, injuring both. Leaf brandished what appeared to be a black pistol while Lee took money from bar patrons. After leaving the bar, the three men fled in a blue automobile. A passerby was able to supply police with a description of the vehicle and a partial license plate number.
A radio call was sent out, which included a description of the three assailants, their vehicle, and the last four digits of the license plate. A police officer observed the vehicle a short time later only a mile from the crime scene and placed [Horton] and his companions under arrest. Police recovered a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle from the backseat of the car as well as a black pellet gun under the front passenger seat.
Ballistics testing identified the rifle as the same weapon used during the robbery at Filito’s. [Horton], Lee, and Leaf, who was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt at the time of his arrest, were taken to the hospital where Martinez and her daughter, as well as another bar patron Miguel DeJesus, identified them as the robbers.
Featured image: John Fetterman, US Senate
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