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Fetterman campaign says nominee's calls to 'free' second-degree murderers 'taken out of context'

Fetterman has made numerous comments about his support to release people with life sentences.

Published: September 20, 2022 10:37am

Updated: September 20, 2022 12:33pm

The campaign for Pennsylvania Democrat Senate nominee John Fetterman on Tuesday walked back the candidate's apparent call to release all second-degree murderers with life sentences. 

A spokesperson for Fetterman's campaign told Fox News that the lieutenant governor's comments "are being taken out of context," and the nominee does not support freeing all convicts serving life without parole for second-degree murder.

Fetterman, who also is chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, had two reports commissioned about the 1,166 people in the state serving life without parole for second-degree murder in 2019.

"I hope that it could lead to a conversation that would free close to 1,200 people of a legacy that never made sense," he said during a press conference about the reports in March 2021.

Two months later, he said freeing second-degree murderers serving life sentences would be a "massive" savings for taxpayers and that "mercy must be a partner to justice."

Fetterman's campaign on Tuesday said he "supports common sense criminal justice reforms that keep Pennsylvanians safe and protected while saving taxpayers money."

The spokesperson also said Fetterman thinks there are some convicted second-degree murderers who should remain incarcerated.

Fetterman previously called to end life sentences for individuals who were found guilty of second-degree murder but did not "pull the trigger." In one known case, he was the lone pardons board member to vote for the release of a first-degree murderer.

Fetterman, who is running against Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz this fall, has also supported drug decriminalization and criminalization of corporate price hikes.

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