Panel Votes Against Clemency Recommendation for Blytheville Cop Killer

JULY 6, 2005 - Posted at 11:10 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state Post Prison Transfer Board has narrowly voted against a clemency recommedation for a Blytheville man convicted in the 1980 slaying of an Arkansas State Police trooper.

Clay Anthony Ford had sought a recommendation from the board that he be released from his life sentence.  The panel voted 4-3 against the request, which now goes to Governor Mike Huckabee for a final decision.

Ford had drawn support from a federal judge who had served as his attorney and others who backed his release.  That was enough for board chairman Leroy Brownlee and members William Walker and Erma Hendrix, who noted a jury had wanted Ford to be sentenced to less than life in prison.  Brownlee, Hendrix and Walker had recommended commuting Ford's sentence to 50 years.

But board members Carolyn Robinson, John Belken, John Felts and Larry Zeno voted against Ford, saying the seriousness of the offense carried too much weight.

Ford has been convicted twice in the shooting death of State Police sergeant Glen Bailey at a roadblock in Marion in September 1980.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)