Man pardoned after 13 years in prison

CARSON CITY - A year after his release from prison, where he spent 13 years, Reginald Hayes won a pardon Tuesday from a state panel and got his civil rights restored.

The Nevada Pardons Board, chaired by Gov. Kenny Guinn, voted unanimously to grant the request from Hayes, 28, who was released from prison after his family and other supporters argued he was a victim of injustice.

Hayes was 14 on Aug. 10, 1985, the day he accepted a ride home from Donald Lee, 16. Phillip Minor, 18, and Eddie Hampton, 16, were also in the car.

Instead of taking Hayes home, Lee took a detour and kidnapped John Brown, 21, at gunpoint. Lee and Minor beat the Nellis airman, robbed him of $9 and shot him in a vacant alley.

At the trial, the four young men in the car that night also were accused of shooting out of the car window and trying to kill four other people.

No one alleged Hayes was involved in the shooting of Brown, but prosecutors argued that he was guilty under Nevada's felony murder rule because the kidnapping led to the slaying.

His attorneys argued he was merely present, helpless and terrified, during the kidnapping that led to the killing and not even in the car during the attempted slayings that occurred earlier that day.

Minor pleaded guilty to the murder and got two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Hayes, Lee and Hampton were convicted and got two consecutive sentences of life without possible parole plus 160 years.

After years of appeals, the Clark County district attorney's office agreed last year to let Hayes plead to kidnapping and to drop all other charges. District Judge Kathy Hardcastle then sentenced him to time already served: 13 years, three months, 11 days.


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