A Hunt County man is to be freed from military prison after President Donald Trump pardoned him on a charge of second degree murder.
In a statement issued Friday evening, Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance of Celeste.
On July 2, 2012, Lorance, serving as a lieutenant in the United States Army, was on a joint foot patrol with the Afghan Army in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan when three men on motorcycles were watching the platoon at a distance.
The area had been under fire the previous day from insurgents riding motorcycles. Lorance gave the order to open fire on the men and two of them were killed. A search later found no weapons, cell phones or radios on the men.
When Lorance returned from the patrol, he was put on suspension and sat at the base in Kandahar until he returned to Fort Bragg the fall of 2012.
In January, 2013,Lorance was told he was going to be court-martialed and later was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder. Army prosecutors alleged Lorance violated the rules of engagement by not holding fire until there was clear evidence of hostile intentions by the Afghan men.
The statement issued Friday indicated Lorance has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence and that calls for his clemency had received wide support; “Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress, including Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, and Representatives Steve Scalise, Garret Graves, Duncan Hunter, Paul Gosar, Adam Kinzinger, Scott Perry, Brian Babin, Neal Dunn, Michael Waltz, Louie Gohmert, Daniel Webster, Steve King, Ralph Norman, Mark Meadows, Clay Higgins, Ralph Abraham, Mike Johnson, and Jody Hice.”