Parole board recommends commutation for PB man convicted of murder


LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Parole Board on Wednesday recommended that the sentence of a 38-year-old man who has been in prison since he was 18 be commuted to time served for a capital murder conviction in Jefferson County.

Nakia Davis is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1993 slaying of Anthony Williams, 24, of Pine Bluff.

The parole board, in a 4-1 vote, recommended to Gov. Mike Beebe that Davis’ sentence be commuted, which would make him immediately eligible for parole.

Also Wednesday, Beebe announced his intention to commute the drug sentences of two other state inmates.

In recommending commutation for Davis, the parole board said two attorneys, two supporters and family members attended a hearing and spoke on Davis’ behalf. The panel noted that Davis has completed his GED.

The board said Davis and another man were arrested in connection with Williams’ death. While Davis shot Williams in the leg, it was the other man’s shot that killed Williams. That man, however, claimed self-defense at trial and was acquitted.

James Wallace III, the vice chairman of the board, voted against the recommendation.

In his clemency application, Davis said he had completed the prison system’s anger management program and the Principles and Applications for Life program. He also participated in an inmate program called Making the Transition and in a prison system anti-gang membership program known as UNITY, short for U and I helping Teen Youth.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said once the recommendation gets to the governor’s desk he will have nine months to make a decision.

“Every case is looked at individually, but it often does take some time,” DeCample said.

Separately Wednesday, Beebe issued a notice of intent to commute the life sentence for James Stanton to 45 years, and the 95-year sentence for Donald Strom to 40 years.

Stanton, 46, was convicted in Cleveland County of possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine, as well as drug possession charges. He was convicted as a habitual offender in 2000.

In a news release, the governor’s office said the notice of intent was “based on the length of time served … and the facts surrounding the incident.”

The governor’s office said no law enforcement officials objected to the commutation.

Strom, 55, was convicted in Grant County in 1999 of manufacturing of methamphetamine, possession of me3thamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug premises. He was sentenced to consecutive sentences totaling 95 years.

The news release said the governor’s decision to commute Strom’s sentence to 40 years also was based on the length of time served, the facts surrounding the incident and that there are no objections to the commutation from law enforcement.

State law requires the governor to give 30 days notice of intent to allow for public feedback.