John P. de Jongh, Jr., on his last day as Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has released the names of 16 criminals he pardoned before leaving office–people with crimes ranging from fraud and grand larceny, to second-degree murder.
Of the 16 who received pardons, 10 were residents of St. Thomas, while the others were spread between St. Croix, persons living on the mainland, and a few who were born on neighboring islands, including a native of St. Kitts.
The one pardon that released a criminal of his second degree murder record was granted to Avery Lans, born on July 28, 1967. According to the document, Lans was sentenced in 1989 and after serving 25 years in prison, he was released in 2009.
Providing his reasons for granting the pardon, de Jongh wrote: “Taking together the facts and circumstances of the underlying conduct of the offense charged, and the fact that Avery Lans has no criminal history since the commission of the subject crime, the issuance of a pardon is warranted.”
To see a full list of the issued pardons by Governor de Jongh on Dec. 31, go here.
Previously, during the controversial 2014 General Elections, de Jongh pardoned Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, after the Supreme Court ruled that she was ineligible to be on the Nov. 4 ballot because of crimes she committed involving moral turpitude.