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Family Wants Hunt To Turn Down Prisoner's Request For Clemency

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MOUNT OLIVE — As Governor Jim Hunt prepares to leave office, he is getting a number of last-minute requests from prisoners asking for clemency. One family in Mount Olive is begging the governor not to intervene in one of those cases.

It is a nervous week for Evelyn Deal. The man who married, then killed her daughter, Fay Goodson, wants to get out of prison. Elwood "Buzz" Goodson is asking Governor Hunt for clemency 12 years before his first chance at parole.

"He needs to keep him there and let him pull his time," she says. "My daughter's going to be dead forever. His family can see him occasionally, but we can only visit her grave."

Hunt is just days away from stepping down. His office says dozens of prisoners are asking for clemency before he leaves.

Since he took office eight years ago, Governor Hunt has commuted some 22 cases. His authority allows him to do everything from taking one day off the sentence to releasing the prisoner outright.

Thestate department of correctionsays Goodson has a stellar record, and counsels other inmates, but Phillip Deal, Fay's brother, says her killer should serve his time.

"The jury convicted him of a crime of a life sentence, and I don't feel like it would be responsible for anybody to let him out before his time is due," he says.

Officials at the governor's office says it is impossible to know right now whether the governor is leaning toward commuting the Goodson case.