For many folks, it’s been a hard week in Knox County. We’ve learned that some of the most heinous acts in our recent history have been undone with the stroke of a pen by former Governor Matt Bevin.

I voted for Matt Bevin in 2015. I felt that for most of his time in office, as an executive leading the state, he did a decent job. He certainly helped revitalize industry in Kentucky and brought many jobs back to the state. Those were great things.

His treatment of teachers and state workers soured my opinion of the man. For his fiscal accomplishments, I applauded him still, but I knew he’d be a hard sell to get re-elected. In the words of Senate President Robert Stivers, “His problem was the lack of knowledge of how, as Governor, powerful his words are! The race wasn’t about his policies, but it became about his personality!! That’s why he lost.”

To say I was a fan of Matt Bevin for most of the things he did as governor is overshadowed by his decision to pardon convicted murderers in our own community.

You see, I am the brother of a murder victim. My brother, Philip G. Myrick, Jr., was gunned down in cold blood on March 6, 1991. His killer was quickly caught, but due to a corrupt Commonwealth’s Attorney and judge in Bell County, justice was only fleeting. My brother’s killer spent only a couple of years behind bars, even to the dismay of the Kentucky State Police detectives that worked the solid, open-and-shut case.

Because of a corrupt system, it wasn’t long before we saw the man who took my brother’s life drive past our house. He was free. My brother isn’t here anymore. He left behind a daughter that was born three weeks after his funeral. He now has two great-grandchildren that he has never met on this side of Heaven. 

I sympathize and mourn with the families who had their worlds turned upside down last week.

As for the governor I once held in high regard, his actions sicken me. No excuse he can tweet will ever undo the harm he has brought to hundreds of families in Kentucky.

I challenge our representatives and senators to act quickly to prevent this sort of injustice from happening again. Who, what, and when the governor can pardon needs a serious look at.

Let’s hope Bevin’s decisions don’t result in anything more than broken hearts.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

— Psalm 147:3, NIV

Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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