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An Arkansas man is due to be released after decades in prison for robbing a taco shop with a water gun.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said he would commute Rolf Kaestel’s sentence to immediate parole.
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Kaestel, 70, was arrested in 1981 after a robbery for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment for aggravated robbery. He stole $ 264 and was armed only with a water pistol.
He was also fined $ 15,000.
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“I believe that I have proven that I deserve the chance and ask for your consideration and favorable action so that I can start a new life,” wrote Kaestel in his most recent appeal. “The merciless four decades of my incarceration to date have served the purposes of justice.”
Kästel has repeatedly appealed for a pardon, and his fifth appeal was finally approved. The governor’s decision will only become final after a 30-day waiting period during which he receives feedback.
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However, no police officer contradicted the request.
The man who ran the store and handed Kaestel the money during the robbery also supported his release, FOX 4 KC reported.
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Hutchinson had previously denied Kaestel’s pardon on his 2015 appeal, but his case received attention from advocates of criminal law reform, the Guardian reported.
Kaestel reportedly never broke prison rules while in prison, and he earned three associate degrees while in prison.