Clinton Commutes First Federal Death Row Inmate's Sentence to Life in Prison

January 23, 2001

President Clinton, during his last few hours as President, commuted David Ronald Chandler’s death sentence to life inprison.

Ronnie Chandler, a marijuana-grower from Alabama, was convicted on murder conspiracy charges in 1991. The casedepended solely on the testimony of the actual murderer, Charles Ray Jarrell, who, in exchange for a plea bargain,testified at trial that Chandler had paid him $500 to commit a murder. Jarrell recanted the testimony after Chandlerwas convicted.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent the execution, lawyers filed a petition urging Clinton to commute Chandler’s deathsentence just two weeks ago.


  • Michelle Chandler, Chandler’s sister-in-law. She played a leading role in organizing the clemency effortfor Chandler.
  • Jack Martin, Chandler’s attorney.

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