LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe misspoke last week when he said he has signed four death warrants since taking office in 2007. He has signed a dozen death warrants for eight condemned prisoners, his office said Thursday.
Beebe told the Political Animals Club on Jan. 16 that if the Legislature were to pass a bill to repeal the death penalty, he would sign it.
"I have signed four death warrants since I’ve been governor," Beebe said then, describing the review process as "agonizing" and calling the duty one of the most difficult things he has ever had to do.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Thursday the governor actually has signed 12 warrants for eight prisoners. He said four of the warrants were for prisoners whose appeals went on so long that their death warrants expired and Beebe had to sign new ones.
"The first four were especially long and contentious court affairs, and so I think those were the ones that, off the top of his head on a subject he hadn’t visited in a year and a half, those were the ones he thought of at Political Animals," DeCample said.
DeCample said Beebe’s failure to remember how many death warrants he signed did not mean that signing them was not difficult.
"It’s difficult whether it’s one or it’s 20," DeCample said.