Dear Governor Warner,
I have been following the story of a 47-year-old Roanoke County man, Aleck Carpitcher, for the past few months. The news in Wednesday’s Roanoke Times has infuriated me, and it is my belief that there is nobody in the state, save for you, who can do anything to help this man.
In 1999, Carpitcher was tried on charges of molesting his girlfriend’s 11 year old daughter. Solely on the strength of the girl’s testimony, he was convicted to 38 years in prison. There was no physical evidence, no witnesses, no confession — just the girl’s word. Shortly after Carpitcher was sent to prison, the girl admitted to a social worker that she had invented her story because she simply didn’t like the man living in her home, and thought that her accusation would make him leave. She had no idea that he would go to jail.
The girl did not recant until nine months after his conviction, such that the 21-day-rule had long since gone into effect. Nobody is questioning this man’s innocence — all parties seem to agree that he has done nothing wrong. So, Carpitcher must remain in prison for what is likely to prove the rest of his life, despite that he has committed no crime, because of a stupid law. I feel as if I am wasting my time in classes here at Virginia Tech or, indeed, even in sitting at my desk, writing you. Instead, I should be standing on the steps on the Virginia Supreme Court, screaming at the top of my lungs, or perhaps formulating a plot to break this man out of prison. I simply cannot stand by while this man remains in prison.
My question to you is this: Can you stand by while this man remains in prison? You do, after all, have the power to grant him clemency, under Article V, Section 12 of the state constitution. You have granted clemency in similar cases in the past, such as in the cases of Julius Earl Ruffin and Marvin Lamont Anderson. When the judiciary is powerless to help, and the legislature can’t get their act together sufficiently to pass a budget, that leaves you, Governor Warner.
I implore you: please grant clemency to Aleck Carpitcher.