Though Sarah Huckabee Sanders may have taken a break from her packed schedule as Arkansas’ Governor and a Mucinex mascot impersonator to pardon a turkey ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, it appears her compassion doesn’t span beyond domesticated fowl, refusing clemency for one wrongly imprisoned man.
Shortly before Sanders offered clemency to a turkey on Friday, the Arkansas Times noted that this year’s take on the typically joyous ceremony had much darker undertones, coming weeks after the lawmaker refused to grant clemency to Charlie Vaughn, a mentally disabled man who has served more than 30 years behind bars for a murder someone else confessed to.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denied clemency for an innocent Black man but pardons a turkey.https://t.co/DhtYbTLIzm— Annie van Leur (@AnnevanLeur) November 21, 2023
Though Vaughn was convicted of the 1988 murder of an 81-year-old woman in the early 90s — one that a man named Reginald Early confessed to in the 20-teens — Huckabee opted to deny his application for clemency, tapping her legal counsel to offer the damning decision.
“The Governor completed her review of Mr. Vaughn’s file last week,” Cortney Kennedy revealed earlier this month. “Unfortunately, she has chosen not to grant clemency at this time. He will be able to reapply in 6 years, pursuant to statute.”
Naturally, her constituents and other followers were peeved at the irony of these parallel events, heading to social media to dunk on the lawmaker.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders could have granted clemency to a man who has spent 32 years in prison for a murder that another man confessed to doing. She denied him clemency, with no explanation— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 18, 2023
She did, however, pardon a turkey yesterday https://t.co/HNzG8ctyly
We can only hope that the governor has a change of heart … and gets visited by the ghost turkeys of Thanksgiving past, present, and future.