Board recommends commutation for murder convict


LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Parole Board said Thursday it is recommending to the governor that a state prison inmate’s 1994 life sentence for killing a man near Benton County be commuted to 21 years in prison.

Paul W. Stacy,. 43, was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery in the February 1993 death of Gene Edmond Cook.

The board voted 4-1 to recommend to Gov. Mike Beebe that he commute Stacy’s sentence.

Parole Board member James Wallace wrote that Stacy’s two attorneys, as well as 13 family members, attended his executive clemency hearing.

Board member Richard Brown cast the only ‘‘no’’ vote.

In his narrative of the 1993 incident, Stacy said he and Thomas Aman met Cook at a tavern and agreed to drive him to Noel, Mo.

Cook fell asleep in the car and Stacy took money from his coat pocket, adding they later stopped to pull Cook out of the car, but he woke up. That was when Aman struck Cook with a tire iron, Stacy wrote.

Aman, 21 at the time, , was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery in connection with Cook’s death and was sentenced to life in prison.

Stacy said he was a “foolish young man,” and that while in prison, he has completed his GED, as well as a course in anger management.

He said he also has taken a farrier course, is involved in the state prison’s K-9 search and rescue team and has helped local, county and state law enforcement capture escaped felons. He said he also helps find lost children and elderly people.

“I’m extremely sorry to all the victims involved in this case and I have worked hard to make amends,” he wrote, adding he hopes the governor “will have mercy upon me and see me worthy of a second chance.”