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.