Bush announces pardons for two cleared of sexual assault

CONROE, Texas - Gov. George W. Bush said Monday he will pardon a man who has served 10 years of a life sentence for rape after DNA evidence suggested he didn't commit the crime.

Following recommendations from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Bush said he would sign a pardon for Roy Wayne Criner, 35. Bush also said he would sign a pardon for Ronnie Mark Gariepy, 41, in an unrelated sexual assault case.

The parole board's unanimous 18-0 ruling in favor of pardoning Criner came Monday and was forwarded to Bush's office immediately, and Criner was expected to be released Tuesday. The board recommended Gariepy's pardon in February.

Criner was convicted for the rape of 16-year-old Deanna Ogg, whose naked and bludgeoned body was found in September 1986.

Criner originally was charged with murder, a count dropped for lack of evidence.

His attorney, Michael B. Charlton, successfully argued that DNA evidence found on a cigarette butt matched semen found in Ogg's body and neither matched Criner.

The pardons bring to 18 the number Bush has issued since taking office nearly six years ago. Five of those pardons, including the latest two, are ''pardons for innocence.''

In all five cases, the district judge, district attorney and sheriff from the prosecuting county all recommended the pardon.

Such was the case with Gariepy, who won the support of arresting authorities after his stepdaughter recanted her accusation he had sexually assaulted her on Oct. 5, 1991. He was paroled in 1999.


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