KINGSHILL, U.S. Virgin Islands — President Joe Biden pardoned six people who have served sentences following convictions on one count of murder and drug and alcohol-related offenses, including an 80-year-old woman convicted of killing her abusive husband about half a century ago and a man who pleaded guilty to using a phone for a cocaine transaction in the 1970s.
The pardons, announced on Friday, mean that the criminal records of the crimes are now purged. They come a few months after the Democratic president pardoned thousands of people convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law. He also pardoned three people earlier this year and commuted the sentences of 75 others.
Biden’s stance on low-level crime, particularly low-level drug possession, and how such crimes can affect families and communities for decades to come, has evolved over his 50 years in public service. In the 1990s, she supported criminal legislation that increased arrest and incarceration rates for drug offenses, particularly for Black and Latino people. Biden has said that people are right to question his stance on the bill, but he has also encouraged them to look at what he is doing now on crime.
The pardons were announced while the president was spending time with his family on St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. The White House said those pardoned are people who served their communities. He said the pardons reflect Biden’s view that people deserve a second chance.
The pardons granted are:
—Beverly Ann Ibn-Tamas, 80, of Columbus, Ohio. At the age of 33, Ibn-Tamas was sentenced for killing her husband. She stated that her husband beat her, verbally abused her, and threatened her. She told the jury that she shot him moments after he assaulted her, while she was pregnant. The judge refused to allow expert testimony on battered woman syndrome, a psychological condition that can develop among victims of domestic violence. Ibn-Tamas received from one to five years in prison with credit for time served. Her appeal was one of the first by someone with battered woman syndrome, and her case has been studied by academics.
—Charles Byrnes-Jackson, 77, of Swansea, South Carolina. Byrnes-Jackson pleaded guilty to possession and sale of spirits without tax stamps when he was 18, involving a single illegal whiskey transaction. He tried to enlist in the Marine Corps, but was turned down due to the conviction.
—John Dix Nock III, 72, of St. Augustine, Florida. Nock pleaded guilty to using his property as a marijuana grow house 27 years ago. He did not grow the plants, but he had six months of community confinement. He now operates a general contracting business.
— Gary Parks Davis, 66, of Yuma, Arizona. When Davis was 22, he admitted to using a phone for a cocaine transaction. He served a six-month sentence nights and weekends in a county jail and completed probation in 1981. After the offense, the White House says, Davis earned a college degree and worked steadily, even owning of a landscaping business and managing construction projects. He has volunteered at his children’s high school and in his community.
— Edward Lincoln De Coitus III, 50, of Dublin, California. De Coito pleaded guilty at age 23 to being involved in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy. He was released in December 2000 after serving almost two years. Prior to the crime, De Coito had served honorably in the US Army and Army Reserves and had received numerous awards.
— Vincente Ray Flores, 37, of Winters, California. When he was 19, Flores used ecstasy and alcohol while serving in the Air Force, later pleading guilty in a special court-martial. He was sentenced to four months confinement, loss of $2,800 in pay, and reduction in rank. Flores participated in a six-month rehabilitation program that provides select enlisted offenders the opportunity to return to work after therapy and education. He declassified himself and remains on active duty, earning medals and other awards for his service.