John Fetterman Brings Convicted Murderer to State of the Union

John Fetterman, a freshman senator from Pennsylvania, brought a convicted killer to Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Thanks to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Fetterman was able to commute the sentence.

According to Breitbart News, Dennis Horton and his brother Lee Horton were found guilty of second degree murder in 1993. The shooting occurred during a Philadelphia robbery. Both men maintained their innocence during their nearly three-decade-long prison sentences, which ended in 2021. Tom Wolf (D.PA) was pardoned in 2021 by the five-member Board of Pardons at the suggestion of then-Lt. Governor. Fetterman.

As Julia Terruso of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last year, the governor’s tenure saw a rise in the number of recommendations for life sentences commutations as well as clemency to Wolf. This resulted in at least 46 recommendations.

“This is compared to six terms in Wolf’s first term and none under the former Republican governor. Tom Corbett served one term and was replaced by a Democratic governor. Terruso wrote May about Ed Rendell’s eight-year tenure in office.

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Terruso was the first person to report Monday that Fetterman was taking Horton to the State of the Union. Fetterman later tweeted a statement to the outlet saying:

Dennis and Lee were incarcerated for a crime that they didn’t commit. This is a stark reminder about the work needed to improve our criminal justice system. As your U.S. Senator, I fought for their commutations as well as many others as the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons chair. Senator, I will continue to advocate for second chances for those who are deserving. We shouldn’t be a society that glorifies vengeance. Instead, we should be a society that celebrates redemption.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania filed a 2021 appeal. It cited the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County summary of the facts “underlying [Dennis] Horton’s convictions.”

Evidence presented at trial showed that Lee Horton, Horton’s brother, and Robert Leaf, a co-conspirator, robbed Filito’s bar at Hunting Park Avenue and 5th Street. Samuel Alemo was shot multiple times by [Horton] during the robbery. He was carrying a gun. Alemo later succumbed to his gunshot wounds. [Horton] also shot Luz Arcella and Luz Martinez, injuring both. Lee was able to take money from bar patrons while Leaf held a gun that appeared to be a pistol. The three men fled the bar in a blue car after they left. A passerby provided police with a description and partial license plate number. Radio calls were sent, with a description of the vehicle and last four digits from the license plate. The vehicle was located within a mile of the crime scene by a police officer who quickly saw it and took Horton and his accomplices into custody. The backseat contained a semiautomatic rifle of.22 caliber and a black pellet gun. The rifle was identified by ballistics testing as being the same weapon that was used in the robbery at Filito’s. [Horton], Lee and Leaf were wearing orange sweatshirts at the time of their arrest. Martinez and Miguel DeJesus also took them to the hospital.

According to the Inquirer, September 2020, they claimed that they had picked up Leaf just moments before police started the traffic stop. Leaf was found in the backseat, where the.22 caliber rifle was, according to the summary.

Final decision by the Superior Court was to uphold the ruling of lower court that dismissed Horton’s appeal.

The Board of Pardons voted 4-0 in favor of the Hortons’ clemency recommendation for December 2020. Wolf granted it later. The former governor announced that the sentences of the two murderers and 11 others were commuted in February 2021. Fetterman’s Board of Pardons had also recommended clemency for them.

Wolf stated that “These 13 people have been sentenced for their crimes and are now eligible for a second chance.” “They now have the chance to start a new life outside prison, which I hope will be fulfilling for them all.”

Fetterman stated that each of these Pennsylvanians was fully entitled to the opportunity to go home to their families and begin a new life. Federal records indicate that the Fetterman brothers started receiving payments months after they worked on the campaign.