The Nebraska Board of Pardons board has unanimously refused to pardon Caril Ann Fugate, the ex-girlfriend of mass murderer Charles Starkweather – who from Nov 1957 to Jan 1958 killed 11 people in Nebraska and Wyoming including Fugate’s mother, stepfather, and baby half-sister.
The 14-year old Fugate and the 19-year old Starkweather were both convicted of 1st-degree murder, but while Starkweather was executed in the gas chamber, Fugate’s sentence was commuted and she was paroled in 1976.
She always claimed she went with Starkweather because he said her family was still alive, but that he’d killed them and her if she left him – a claim Starkweather initially denied but eventually supported before his execution.
Fugate, who is now 76 and goes by her married name of Caril Ann Clair, said in her pardon application that she’s seeking peace of mind as she ages and to have “a historical wrong” righted.
She said “The idea that posterity has been made to believe that I knew about and/or witnessed the death of my beloved family and left with Starkweather willingly on a murder spree is too much for me to bear anymore. Receiving a pardon may somehow alleviate this terrible burden.”
Her request was supported by some relatives of Starkweather’s victims, including members of her extended family, but it only took a few minutes pardons board to deny the application for clemency with the 3 members saying it was beyond their scope because of her earlier commutation.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said afterward that “it’s important as you look at the purpose of the request and understand that’s not the role of the pardons board,” adding that “we can’t come in and alleviate the burden she feels for this case.”