PHOENIX - Governor Jan Brewer abruptly ended her own press conference Wednesday morning after facing questions about her controversial decision to deny clemency to a long-time inmate whose guilt has been doubted.
Brewer gave one answer before she turned to her staff, who then cut off any further questions and escorted her away.
The questions surrounded 75-year-old inmate Bill Macumber. ABC15 profiled his case in September after Brewer refused his release despite a unanimous recommendation from experts on the State Board of Executive Clemency.
"He's 75. He's got heart problems and arthritis," said Ron Kempfert, Macumber's son. "To say that he's a threat to public safety? Why won't you release him?"
The question surprised Brewer, who was holidng a briefing to discuss her opposition to the medical marijuana proposition in next month's election.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Brewer said. "I appreciate your concerns. But I have made my decision and it's final."
Kempfert and a team of lawyers from the Arizona Justice Project have been working for years to prove Macumber's innocence. They said there has not been any explanation from Brewer explaining her decision.
In her official response to Macumber's clemency request, she simply wrote, "The application for William Macumber, ADC#33867 is denied."
Macumber is accused of murdering a young couple in the Scottsdale desert in the 1960s. At the time, it was a high-profile case that went unsolved for 12 years.
Macumber's wife is the one who turned him in, saying he confessed the murder.
His wife worked for the sheriff's office; and at the time, the two were going through a divorce.
Several legal experts and one former judge believe that Macumber was wrongly convicted.
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