INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Joe Kernan spared a death row inmate's life Friday days before he was to die by injection, saying it would be unfair to execute him when a mentally retarded accomplice got a life sentence.
The decision followed a unanimous recommendation by the state parole board, which said there were also questions about Darnell Williams' guilt.
It was the first time in 48 years that an Indiana governor granted clemency in a capital case.
Williams and Gregory Rouster were both sentenced to death for the 1986 murders of Rouster's former foster parents, John and Henrietta Rease. But a court ruled that Rouster was retarded and ineligible for execution.
The governor said Rouster was more culpable for the crime. The governor commuted Williams' sentence to life in prison without parole.