Bipartisan support for clemency for grandmother who has served 34 years in prison
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – (April 30, 2020) A bipartisan group of legislators have come together to urge Governor Mike Parson to grant clemency to Patty Prewitt, a 70-year-old grandmother who has been incarcerated for 34 years. Prewitt is serving a life sentence for the murder of her husband in 1984, a crime she has steadfastly maintained she did not commit. In a letter delivered to the Governor today, 56 lawmakers argue that Prewitt’s continued incarceration is not in the state’s interest. The letter, distributed by Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) and Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette), highlights the support of the Prewitt children, Prewitt’s exemplary prison record, as well as flaws in the investigation and trial that led to her conviction. Prewitt’s pending clemency petition was submitted in 2010.
“This week 34 years ago, Patty Prewitt entered prison for a crime many of us believe she did not commit,” said Rep. Dogan. “Yet, she has spent those 34 years continuing to inspire and improve the lives of those around her, including women who are now living productive lives on the outside. This is an opportunity for Governor Parson to show leadership, justice, and mercy.”
Prewitt is the longest serving inmate at Women’s Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correctional Center in Vandalia. Last week, the Department of Corrections reported that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 and that some inmates were quarantined pending testing. At age 70 with a history of respiratory problems, Prewitt faces significantly higher risk of death if she contracts the virus.
“Releasing Patty was the right thing to do before the COVID-19 emergency, but it is even more urgent today,” said Rep. McCreery. “Her children, who have been through so much, desperately want her home so they can care for her at this perilous time. More importantly than the voices of my colleagues and me, I hope the voices of the Prewitt children matter. After 34 years, it is time to for Governor Parson to show mercy to Patty and her family.”
Last December Representatives Dogan and McCreery wrote an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch urging Governor Parson to use his constitutional power to free Prewitt whose clemency petition is among a backlog of over 3,500 in Missouri awaiting executive action. Prewitt’s case and time in prison were featured in a recently released documentary called “33 and Counting.” Without clemency from the Governor, Prewitt will not be eligible for parole until 2036.