Kentucky man pardoned by ex-governor arrested, charged with drunk driving

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Kentucky man pardoned by the former governor for a deadly drunken driving crash has been arrested on drug charges and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police in southern Kentucky found Brett Whittaker passed out in the driver’s seat of a truck that was still in drive, WLEX-TV reported. He was in the parking lot of a restaurant in Mount Vernon when he was arrested Friday.

Police also found several large rocks of suspected meth, according to an arrest citation. He was also charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Whittaker was in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held in jail on a $10,000 bond.

Whittaker was convicted of wanton murder for a 2010 drunk driving crash in Lincoln County that killed John and Lavada Rowland, a Berea minister and his wife. He was serving a 20-year sentence when former Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned him in 2019.

Bevin’s pardon said Whittaker had “utilized the past nine years in prison to transform his life spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.”

Last week, Patrick Baker, another man convicted of a slaying and pardoned by Bevin, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after being re-tried in federal court for a 2014 robbery killing.