Free C. Kyle Berk
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THE TRUTH WILL SET HIM FREE.
This petition by the friends and family of Christopher Kyle Berk respectfully requests the Governor of Florida to consider him for executive clemency and commute his sentence to time served.
Mr. C. Kyle Berk (FDC #: K87901) of Vero Beach was the target of an attempted extrajudicial killing at the hands of a deputy sheriff on the night of January 20, 2013. His crime? Exercising his 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. In the State of Florida, this translates to the unintentional, non-malicious misdemeanor "Unlawful Exhibition of Dangerous Weapons or Firearms," punishable by up to one year in county jail.
However, Mr. Berk was not charged with "Unlawful Exhibition." The State exaggerated the circumstances and nature of his "crime" to three "First Degree Premeditated Attempted Murder with a Firearm" charges, one of which was supposedly on the law enforcement officer who shot him. Mr. Berk was threatened unjustly with three mandatory life sentences if wrongly convicted, and was illegally coerced into accepting a plea agreement which the judge settled at 25 years of incarceration.
The facts of the case remain:
- Mr. Berk did not discharge his gun.
- Mr. Berk was the only person physically harmed during the incident.
- Mr. Berk's wife denied being a victim despite the State's insistence that she was.
- Mr. Berk had a right to be on the family member's private property where he was shot.
- Mr. Berk had no prior criminal history.
- Mr. Berk was a legal CCW permit holder.
- Six people testified orally and three people gave written statements at Mr. Berk's sentencing requesting he be sentenced to the bottom of the guidelines (12.77 years).
- Only one person, the deputy who shot him, testified against Mr. Berk at sentencing, asking for the maximum sentence to be imposed (30 years).
- The officer who shot Mr. Berk had only 13 months of service at the time of the incident and was promptly promoted and awarded "Officer of the Year" before the case was even adjudicated.
- Mr. Berk gave a plausible explanation at sentencing that be was in fact relocating the gun between family cars to keep it out of his children's reach, which was corroborated by:
* Physical evidence of his keys and fob recovered next to his injured body.
* Thread witness statements including two "victims" and one uninvolved onlooker who said they saw Mr. Berk's car's lights flash on as he remotely unlocked the door to place the gun inside.
* Witness statements that Mr. Berk bent/knelt/crouched right before he was shot are consistent with his statement that he was placing the gun on the ground, not aiming it at the "victims."
We the undersigned believe Mr. Berk is not guilty of any attempted murder and deserves to return to free society. He has expressed sincere remorse for the actual misdemeanors committed, freely admitting to them. He has more than satisfied what could be reasonably expected as a term of incarceration for a careless but well-intentioned, accidental violation of the law during which he meant and caused no harm to anyone. We want Mr. Berk to be returned to his family so he can have a chance to recover and make a positive contribution to society.
PLEASE FREE C. KYLE BERK.
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