Bredesen commutes death sentence, pardons 22 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bredesen commutes death sentence, pardons 22

NASHVILLE, TN. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen has commuted a Tennessee inmate's death sentence to life in prison without parole.

Bredesen told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he thinks Edward Jerome Harbison's crime was heinous but didn't rise to the level of the death penalty.

Bredesen also exonerated one man, commuted the sentences of three inmates and issued 22 pardons.

Harbison was convicted in Chattanooga of the 1983 slaying of Edith Russell, a woman for whom he had done handy work.

He initially confessed but later claimed he was forced to do that because police threatened to arrest his girlfriend and put her children in foster care.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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