Please FREE Patty Prewitt by granting her clemency.
  • Petitioning Jay Nixon (Governor of Missouri)

This petition will be delivered to:

Governor of Missouri
Jay Nixon (Governor of Missouri)

Please FREE Patty Prewitt by granting her clemency.

    1. Jane Prewitt Van Benthusen
    2. Petition by

      Jane Prewitt Van Benthusen

      Lee's Summit, MO

My mother, Patty Prewitt, is serving a life with no possiblity of parole for 50 years for the murder of my father. She has served 27 years so far. I believe she is innocent of this crime. So do many others! We are asking Governor Nixon to grant her clemency so she can go up before the parole board now. You can read about her, see pictures and more at www.patriciaprewitt.com.  Patty's children and grandchildren as well as aging parents need her! Please read and sign! 

Here is an article written by her orginal attorney who is now a retired judge.....

Posted on Sun, Dec. 01, 2013 Patty Prewitt, convicted of murdering her husband, should be granted clemency  

By ROBERT BEAIRD
Special to The Star

The recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals vacating Ryan Ferguson’s murder conviction reminds us that our criminal justice system is not perfect. As a prosecutor, defense lawyer and a recently retired judge, I have seen our system from all sides and can attest to its strengths — and its shortcomings.

Of the hundreds of criminal cases I have been involved with over the last 30 years, Patty Prewitt’s case powerfully demonstrates the wisdom of our Founding Fathers in enshrining the clemency power in our federal and state constitutions to assure that our system of justice is, in fact, just.

I was Patty’s lead defense lawyer when she was convicted of the murder of her husband nearly 30 years ago. Investigators were all too quick to judge Patty as their prime suspect, and they failed to collect and in some cases simply ignored key evidence, preventing us from fully presenting Patty’s account of a home intruder that attacked her and killed her husband.

The prosecution paraded former paramours on the stand, all of whom had relations with her that ended more than five years before the crime, during a period when her husband had withdrawn his affections. This inflammatory testimony and the lead investigator’s dubious claim that Patty tried to seduce him during his investigation unduly influenced the jury’s perception of her and resulted in the guilty verdict she received.

In today’s world, no criminal court would tolerate an inflammatory Scarlet Letter prosecution of infidelity. Worse, after the verdict, we learned that one of Patty’s neighbors contacted an investigator within two days of the murder to tell him that on the night of the murder she had seen a man in a white car, which was suspiciously parked with its lights off on a desolate dirt road facing the Prewitts’ rural home.

Despite the prosecution’s obligation to do so, this evidence was never shared with us and, as a result, never presented to the jury. Based on my decades of experience in the courtroom, I have no doubt that that the jury would not have convicted Patty had they heard the neighbor’s account of the suspicious vehicle. This was the missing link to our defense, and the missing evidence for the jury.

As the longest serving inmate at the women’s prison in Vandalia, Patty has been a model prisoner for the past 27 years. She is not even eligible for parole until 2036, when she will be 86 years old. Maintaining her innocence and trusting our legal system, she declined a plea bargain that would have made her eligible for parole after just seven years.

Had she taken the deal, she would have been released many years ago. Unfortunately, her trust was misplaced and a jury never heard the full story of what happened that terrible night.

This is precisely the kind of situation the drafters of our federal and state constitutions had in mind in providing for executive clemency power. When courts and the parole board have no power to intervene, it is incumbent on the governor to ensure the fair administration of the justice system. The exercise of executive clemency presents our governor with the leadership opportunity to do so.

Clemency has a rich tradition in our legal system. Missouri’s most famous citizen, President Harry Truman, exercised this power over 2,000 times while in the White House. Here in Missouri, recent governors have all embraced their clemency power as well. Gov. Jay Nixon and his staff have no doubt carefully reviewed Patty’s clemency petition, which was submitted years ago.

I would be shocked if the Board of Probation and Parole did not recommend clemency. Hundreds of people from across our state including religious leaders and both Republican and Democratic politicians have contacted the governor’s office in support of her release. Gov. Nixon has received letters from former inmates who have attested to the positive impact Patty had on their lives. Her children, who lost their father, desperately want their mother home and have been tireless advocates on her behalf. Patty has several standing job offers upon her release.

No one doubts that she will be a productive citizen outside of prison. Gov. Nixon would be doing what is fair and just if he grants Patty clemency this holiday season. As Patty’s defense lawyer, and as a former prosecutor and retired judge, I urge him to embrace his constitutional leadership mantle and grant Patty clemency during this season when we are all thankful of God’s grace.

Robert Beaird of Kansas City was an associate judge of the Circuit Court of Jackson County from 2002 to 2010.

 

 

To:
Jay Nixon (Governor of Missouri), Governor of Missouri
Please FREE Patty Prewitt by granting her clemency.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 1,500 signatures
    2. Most recent picture of my mom and I together.

      Jane Prewitt Van Benthusen
      Petition Organizer

      I thought some of you may like to see the most recent picture of my mom and I together. On Nov 9th I drove three and a half hours across the state to visit her for four hours. Then since it's such a long drive I decided to stay at a motel and visit again the next day. We got this picture taken on Nov. 10th 2013. I love my mom! Thanks for all the support!
      Love,
      Jane Van Benthusen aka Lovey Jane https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151960726121865&set=a.10151935177186865.1073741836.579051864&type=3&theater

    3. Reached 1,000 signatures
    4. Want to help Patty Prewitt?

      Jane Prewitt Van Benthusen
      Petition Organizer

      If you would like to do more than just sign this petition please consider making a comment on this article

      http://www.kansascity.com/2013/12/01/4658642/clemency-for-patty-prewitt.html

      and whenever you post online about my mom please add the hashtag #freepatty.

      Thanks so much for your continued support! Keep sharing and taking about Patty Prewitt so she and my father Bill Prewitt are not forgotten.

      Love,
      Jane Van Benthusen aka Lovey Jane

      Patty Prewitt, convicted of murdering her husband, should be granted clemency

      x93;Patty Prewitt’s case powerfully demonstrates the wisdom of our Founding Fathers in enshrining the clemency power in our federal and state constitutions to assure that our system of justice is, in fact, just,” writes Robert Beaird, who was lead defense lawyer when she was convicted of the murder of her husband nearly 30 years ago.

    5. Reached 750 signatures
    6. Justice for Patty Prewitt

      Jane Prewitt Van Benthusen
      Petition Organizer

      We are gaining support! We are looking or womens groups. churches and other organizations who can help us spread the word. I am willing and able to speak about this if need be. Please spread the word! Here is a video of my mom reading two examples of her writing. Thank you all! Namaste and God Bless You! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njDojaenpn4

    7. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Pamela Fielder MODESTO, CA
      • about 8 hours ago

      It is my strong opinion that Patricia is innocent.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joey Skidmore KANSAS CITY, MO
      • 5 days ago

      Patty Prewitt's daughter's memories of what happened that night have convinced me that an innocent woman has already served 27 years in prison.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patricia Baker LEXINGTON, MO
      • about 1 month ago

      I think she has served her time and due to be released upon everything I've read and being a model prisoner for so many years. If she would have taken a deal she would already be released.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Melissa Nemecek OLATHE, KS
      • about 1 month ago

      I feel that Patty has been wrongly accused of a murder she didn't commit.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • melissa barbee HEMET, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      Justice

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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