Cuomo pardons 21, including women arrested for killing abusive partners

Two New York women arrested for killing their abusive partners received an early Christmas gift on Thursday, when Governor Andrew Cuomo granted them and 19 other convicted felons clemency.

The women – Theresa Debo and Maria Ordonez – had their sentences commuted by the governor.

“In New York, we believe the law should be fair and also compassionate,” said Cuomo in a statement.

“Those who received sentence commutations underwent successful rehabilitation, showed real remorse for their actions and were worthy of a chance to rejoin society.”

Both women had a nightmare childhood full of harm and neglect, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Throughout his adult life, Debo, now 64, entered and left abusive relationships, including with the man who was convicted of shooting and killing in 2006.

The woman from central New York said she feared for her life and acted in self-defense during one of her outbursts of drunkenness.

She was sentenced to 22 years of life in prison – of which she has already served 16.

Ordonez, meanwhile, was just 20 when he killed her abusive boyfriend while he beat and suffocated her.

She was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 2018 and has since served six of her nine-year sentence.

The women were among seven people who had their long prison sentences cut by the governor.

A Vietnam veterinarian, Arnold Raimondo, 70, spent almost 40 years behind bars after being convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in 1983 and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Raimondo enlisted at the age of 17 and “on returning, he suffered from PTSD which manifested itself in destructive behavior,” the statement said.

Clifton Williamson, now 43, will also be released after serving 25 years of his 25-year life sentence for crimes committed in 1996 and 1997.

At just 18 years old, he was convicted of murder, despite not pulling the trigger.

Fourteen people have been pardoned for crimes, including petit theft, attempted theft, counterfeiting and criminal sale or possession of a controlled substance, with several facing the prospect of unforgiving deportation.

Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, usually forgives New Yorkers incarcerated around the end of the year.

His gesture also follows a series of controversial leniency granted by President Donald Trump earlier this week, his former campaign president Paul Manafort, political advisor Roger Stone and dishonored former US deputy Chris Collins, who was convicted on charges. of insider trading.

During the coronavirus pandemic, prison rights advocates pressed the Cuomo government to authorize additional pardons for older inmates and immunologically compromised individuals, as the state prison system experienced a series of outbreaks.

With regard to outbreaks between prisoners and officials, visitation was interrupted in a number of prisons across the state, including those that housed some of the most dangerous criminals in the Empire State in maximum security facilities like Attica Correctional and Wende Correctional near Buffalo, and Clinton Correctional in Dannemora near Canadian Border.

Earlier this spring, the governor granted the release of more than 1,000 probation offenders, citing concerns about the infection.