AG McDaniel Calls Killer's Clemency Hearing an "Ambush"

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says the state's Parole Board conducted an "ambush" hearing that essentially retried Frank Williams Jr.'s murder case.  The panel eventually recommended that the death-row inmate be spared from execution.

McDaniel said yesterday that his office is now reviewing the way it approaches clemency hearings following the board's 4-3 recommendation that Governor Beebe halt Williams' scheduled Sept. 9 execution.  The board recommended that Beebe commute Williams' sentence to life in prison without parole.

The attorney general complained yesterday that the hearing too closely resembled a retrial of Williams.  He said that's not how it has been done in the past, and that such hearings aren't supposed to be a whole new trial on all the merits of the case.

He said that his office would treat clemency hearings differently if that's how they are to be handled.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)