HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A man whose life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison was just commuted by Gov. Tom Wolf may be facing arrest as soon as he’s released Friday. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said in a statement that the Delaware County district attorney’s office has notified the state prison system that it plans to detain 54-year-old David Sheppard when he leaves prison.
Fetterman called it an alarming example of “prosecutorial abuse of power” that he said is disrupting what should have been the first morning of a new life for someone who has paid his debt to society.
Sheppard’s life sentence was commuted Thursday by Wolf, but he’ll still have to spend a year in a halfway house and the remainder of his life under parole supervision.
Sheppard has an outstanding warrant on a 1992 shoplifting charge in Delaware County. The district attorney’s office said in a statement the victim’s family did not know he was appearing before the Board of Pardons to have his sentence commuted.
“If the state is going to reduce or commute a convicted criminals’ prison sentence that was properly imposed by a jury or judge, then the state also needs to take into account the views of the victim and their families. Victims and the family members of victims deserve have their voices heard. Ultimately, the Board of Pardons may not agree with those views, but they at least need to take them into account. That did not happen in this case and it is wrong,” District Attorney Kat Copeland said.
Sheppard was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a pharmacy robbery in Philadelphia in 1992 in which a co-conspirator shot and killed the owner.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)