#justice4justinkent Free a young man who is in prison for killing his sexual abuser.

#justice4justinkent Free a young man who is in prison for killing his sexual abuser.

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Michelle Back started this petition to Governor Asa Hutchinson and

To anyone willing to save a life,

My name is Justin Kent and I am spending a life sentence for killing a man who tried to perform sexual acts on me in my youth. This was my very first offence besides simple traffic violations though I had a very difficult childhood full of violence and addictions. By the age of eighteen, I found myself homeless and addicted to alcohol and methamphetamine. It was then that an older man came into my life saying that he wanted to help me and gave me a place to live. 

His name was David Searles and though he consistently supplied me with alcohol and never tried to talk me out of my addictions, I truly thought he cared about me and wanted to help me. He spoke in ways that led me to believe that he was my only friend and that I could only count on his advice and guidance. He seemed to be the positive male role model I had always dreamed of as a child. 

On the night of April 12th, I went to the rodeo. I had always dreamed of being a rodeo star and worked at the events as often as I could. I heard rumors that David was telling people that we were lovers. Enraged and hurt, I began drinking heavily. I came back to David’s in a haze, slammed the door and passed out in my bed.

That night I woke up with him on top of me. I pushed him off of me and immediately confronted him where he stated that he couldn’t resist me. I was heavily intoxicated and felt like I was going to vomit when he went to bed. My head spun with anger and alcohol, and then I did the unthinkable. I grabbed the gun by the door and shot him in his bed. I was beside myself and not thinking clearly. I took his truck and ran but didn’t even leave town. I gave no fight and told the police nothing about the sexual assault as I was just a child and too embarrassed of the truth. I simply gave in, defeated and disgusted with what I’d done, I gave no resistance at all and plead guilty to avoid the death sentence.

From that night, still till this day, knowing that I am guilty of taking someone’s life sickens and scares me. Because of the way I was raised, I accepted my punishment and agreed to life in prison for first degree murder. Over the last ten years of incarceration, I feel the complete weight of my wrongful actions bearing down on my shoulders. I am very regretful for what I have done and wish with everything that I am that I could change it. I am assembling this petition in support of Commutation, (time off), in order to enlist the support of my community and to possibly receive a reasonable time reduction. Please allow me to clarify. I am not asking to be released today or even within the next few years. I deserve to be punished for my actions and for the life I took. But I do believe it is excessive for a twenty one year old, with no prior record, to spend his entire life in prison over something he regrets every day.

Since my incarceration, I have lost both my brother, cousin and uncle to suicide and felt the pain of knowing my mother was going through chemotherapy. Since my incarceration, I have changed my life completely. I have had many chances to drink alcohol and do drugs in prison, but will never choose to do so again, as I now know how they affect me and lower my inhibitions to do wrong things. I have given my life to God and want more than anything to teach others to stay away from the dangers they produce. I have support in Florida where I can work and be with good people who do not drink or use. I have faith that I would never be in any form of trouble ever again and want more than anything to be able to be there for my mother in her golden years when she needs me the most. I am respectfully requesting your support in my plea for a sentence reduction.

Thank you for your time and support.                                                                 

Justin Kent #149287                                                                                       

PO Box 600.                                                                                           

Grady, AR 71644

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