Mara Leveritt reports that Rolf Kaestel, imprisoned for 34 years for a $264 robbery in Fort Smith, has been informed that he’s been denied clemency by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who’s drawn attention of late for his support restoring some equity to sentencing as one means of reducing a bulging prison population.
Kaestel is not a prisoner in Arkansas. He was shipped to Utah, coincidentally after appearing in a documentary film on a blood plasma selling scandal in Arkansas prisons and also after providing reporters with information about prison security lapses.
Kaestel used a water pistol to rob a taco stand. He got a life sentence because of prior convictions. His victim has made a video urging Kaestel’s release. Parole boards in both Arkansas and Utah have recommended clemency.
Gov. Mike Beebe refused a pardon request last year. Hutchinson’s refusal means Kaestel can’t request clemency again until he’s 70, six years off.