Biden pardons six convicted of murder, drug, and alcohol crimes

President Joe Biden issued new pardons heading into 2023. He pardoned six people for having served out sentences after convictions on drug- and alcohol-related crimes and a murder charge, including one given to an 80-year-old woman who was convicted of killing her abusive husband about 50 years ago and a man who used a telephone to conduct a cocaine transaction in the 1970s.

The pardons were announced Friday, meaning their criminal records are now purged. The pardons come a few months after Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law. Biden also pardoned three people earlier in the year while commuting the sentences of 75 others.

The president’s stance on low-level crimes, especially low-level drug possession, and how those crimes impact communities and families for decades has changed over his over 50 years in politics. 

In the 1990s, Biden supported crime legislation that increased incarceration and arrest rates for drug crimes, particularly for Latino and Black people. The president has said people are correct in questioning his stance on the bill, but he is also encouraging a look at what he is now doing on crime.

President Biden’s most recent pardons were announced while he vacationed with family on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The White House said the individuals pardoned are people who have gone on to serve their communities and reflect the president’s view that people deserve a second chance. 

The pardons issued include:

Beverly Ann Ibn-Tamas, 80, of Columbus, Ohio. When she was 33 years old, Ibn-Tamas was convicted of killing her husband. Ibn-Tamas testified that her husband verbally abused and threatened her. She testified that she shot him moments after he had assaulted her. She was pregnant at the time. 

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 one to five years of incarceration with credit for time served. Her appeal was among the first ever by someone with battered woman syndrome. Academics have used her case for further study.

John Dix Nock III, 72, from St. Augustine, Florida. Twenty-seven years ago, Nock pled guilty to using his property as a grow house for marijuana. While he didn’t cultivate the plants, he received six months of community confinement. Nock now operates a general contracting business.

Charles Byrnes-Jackson, 77, from Swansea, South Carolina. Byrnes-Jackson pled guilty to possessing and selling spirits minus tax stamps when he was 18. It involved a single whiskey transaction. Byrnes-Jackson tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected because of his conviction.

Vincente Ray Flores, 37, from Winters, California. When he was 19 years old, Flores consumed alcohol and ecstasy while serving in the Air Force. He later pled guilty at a special court-martial. Flores was sentenced to confinement for four months, was reduced in rank, and lost $2,800 in pay. 

Flores participated in a rehab program that allowed enlisted offenders to return to duty after education and therapy. Flores’s reduction in rank was amended, and he remains on active duty, earning awards and medals for his service.

Gary Parks Davis, 66, of Yuma, Arizona. When Davis was 22 years old, he admitted to using a telephone to make a cocaine transaction. He served a six-month sentence on weekends and nights at a county jail and finished probation in 1981. After his offense, the White House says Davis earned a college degree and steadily worked, including managing construction projects and owning a landscaping business. He has also volunteered in his community and at his children’s high school.

Edward Lincoln De Coito III, 50, of Dublin, California. De Coito pled guilty at age 23 to being involved in a conspiracy involving marijuana tracking. In December 2020, he was released from prison after serving almost two years. Before his offense, he had served the U.S. Army honorably and received numerous awards.