This is the first time since 2004 that the Pardons Board has recommended the commutation of a life sentence. That year, the Board approved one commutation of life which was granted by Governor Rendell, while three others were denied. Two further cases were denied in 2005.
Since then, no other cases for the commutation of a life sentence have been heard.
Yesterday's recommendations will go to the governor with the hope that he will grant the commutations.
Pennsylvania is one of six states where individuals can be sentenced to their natural life behind bars without the possiblity of parole. The Prison Society has been a long-time advocate for a change in this inhumane sentencing policy.
Werts, Smith and Fultz have each served 35 years, earning at the least a measure of mercy.