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Moonshiners, bank robber among 11 pardoned by Bush

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has granted 11 pardons, bringing to 69 the number of clemency orders he has issued since taking office five years ago, the Justice Department said.

Three moonshiners and a bank robber are among those pardoned, as is a Denver lawyer with Republican ties. The pardons were issued Tuesday, in keeping with a tradition of granting clemency during the holiday season.

One of those pardoned, Wendy St. Charles, is a lawyer for a Denver homebuilder, MDC Holdings, parent of Richmond American Homes, The Denver Post reported. St. Charles was convicted on drug charges in 1984 and sentenced to four years in prison.

MDC's chairman, Larry Mizel, has contributed more than half a million dollars to Republican campaigns along with his wife, Carol, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Constitution provides the president with the power to grant clemency. A presidential pardon can't expunge a conviction, but it can help people regain rights such as voting and owning guns.

One of the moonshiners, Carl E. Cantrell of Monteagle, Tenn., said he was arrested at his still without ever selling a drop. He was convicted of federal liquor law violations in 1967 and sentenced to three years' probation.

''I wasn't trying to cause nobody no harm," he told The Knoxville News Sentinel. ''I was just trying to make a living."

Donald Lee Pendergrass of Ramona, Calif., convicted in 1964 of bank robbery with a dangerous weapon, also received clemency.

Among the others who were granted pardons:

  • Charles Winston Carter of Hanna City, Ill. Sentenced in 1964 to two years' probation for conspiracy to steal US property.

  • Harper James Finucan of Charleston, S.C. Sentenced in 1980 to 39 months' imprisonment and five years' special parole for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

  • Bobby Frank Kay Sr. of Suffolk, Va. Sentenced in 1959 to two years in prison and a $1,003 fine for operating an illegal distillery.

  • Melvin L. McKee of Surprise, Ariz. Sentenced in 1982 to five years' probation conditioned upon 400 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine for conspiracy to make and cause the making of false statements in loan applications, and aiding and abetting the making of a materially false statement in a loan application.

  • Charles Ellis McKinley of Pall Mall, Tenn. Sentenced in 1950 to two years' probation for violation of IRS liquor laws.

  • Charles Blurford Power of Fort Pierce, Fla. Sentenced in 1948 to one year and one day in prison for interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle.

  • John Gregory Schillace of Hammond, La. Sentenced in 1988; sentence amended in 1989 to 20 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.

  • Jimmy Lee Williams of Mesquite, Texas. Sentenced to five years' probation and a $5,000 fine for making a false statement on a loan application.

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