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Gov. Baker commutes convicted killer's life sentence – SouthCoastToday.com

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NEW BEDFORD — A former U.S. Marine and convicted killer who has spent the last 30 years in prison, has had his life without parole sentence commuted by Gov. Charlie Baker, who had until Friday to decide.
Thomas E. Koonce, 53, of Brockton, was 20 years old when he shot and killed Mark J. Santos, 24, of New Bedford in 1987. 
He was serving a life sentence since 1991 for first-degree murder with no chance of parole. 
 “The authority given to me by the people of Massachusetts to commute and pardon individuals is one of the most sacred and important powers of this office,” said Baker in a press release on Wednesday. “There are few things as important to me in this position as ensuring justice is served for the individuals impacted by a crime and my responsibility to ensure fair application of justice to all.” 
Baker said he spent months “carefully weighing the circumstances” of the crimes. The state Advisory and Parole Board voted unanimously in January 2021 to send the recommendation for commutation to the governor’s desk for approval.
Baker also commuted the sentence of William Allen, who was serving a life sentence in the death of Purvis Bester in Brockton back in 1994.
William Allen case:Brockton man’s fate and freedom now lie in Gov. Charlie Baker’s hands
“I believe both men, having taken responsibility for their actions and paid their debt to the Commonwealth by serving sentences longer than most individuals found guilty of similar actions, deserve the right to seek parole from prison,” Baker wrote, also referring to a second man, William Allen, whose sentence he also commuted.  
The state Advisory Board of Pardons agreed back in January 2021, that Koonce’s life sentence without the possibility of parole be commuted from first-degree murder to second-degree murder and sent its request on to Baker.  
In Feb. 2020, the governor issued guidelines for commuting a sentence. The inmate must fulfill certain requirements such as having accepted responsibility for the offense, participated in Restorative Justice programs, made exceptional strides in self-development and self-improvement and would be a law-abiding citizen, has contributed to society through the military or public service, or through charitable work. 
The guidelines also imposed a one-year deadline for the governor to decide on commutation requests.  
According to court documents, on July 20, 1987, Koonce along with James Reace, and two other men were riding in Reace’s car and ended up at a nightclub in Westport (the former Alhambras) around 11 p.m. A fight broke out in the club between two groups from New Bedford and Brockton. The four men left the club and went to a fast-food restaurant in New Bedford where another group of men from New Bedford showed up with weapons. 
Police arrived and dispersed the two groups before any violence erupted. 
Koonce told the court that he and the other three men went to the United Front housing complex for a party.  
That’s where Koonce and his friends got caught in the middle of another confrontation between the New Bedford and Brockton groups. Koonce said he pulled out his gun, a .22-caliber pistol, and fired a shot in the air out of the car window.  
Koonce told the Board that at the time he fired the gun, he did not realize that he had shot someone, although an individual sitting in the back seat of the car told Koonce, “I think you just shot someone.” 
Santos was shot in the chest on Cottage Street and later died at St. Luke’s Hospital, according to a Standard-Time story in 1987. 
When Reace was arrested, Koonce told the board he told police he was the one who fired a shot and did not want Reace to pay for his mistake.  
Reace pleaded guilty to “accessory after the fact to first degree murder” and was sentenced on June 26, 1992, to five to seven years in state prison, suspended with three years probation. 
Koonce entered the Marine Corps in 1985, training at Paris Island, S.C. His assignments took him to San Diego, California, and Seattle, Washington.  
He received an Honorable Discharge in 1991. 
He held two jobs after his discharge — one full-time and one part-time. 
Koonce was on leave in 1987 at the time of Santos’ killing.  
Koonce, according to court documents, continued his studies while in prison and received his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1998. After that, he took courses in Spanish, Bible study, computer skills, and a variety of Restorative Justice programs. 
Appeals were filed and denied. 
“Although he was distraught by the Board’s previous unfavorable recommendations, he viewed it as a challenge to gain more insight and to engage in more programming,” the advisory board wrote in its petition. 
The advisory board presented testimony and a number of letters in support of commuting Koonce’s sentence including his family and friends, prison personnel and educators, members of the clergy and outside college professors. 
Rachel Rollins, the newly sworn U.S. Attorney, who was the Suffolk County District Attorney in 2020, submitted a letter dated Nov. 10, 2020, in support of Koonce’s petition for commutation. 
Saying that her son wanted to become a police officer and would have been “a valued asset to the community,” Virginia Santos, mother of the victim, opposed commuting Koonce’s sentence.  
“If you take a life, you give a life,” she told the board. 
Kerri Santos told the board her uncle’s death caused her to “watch [her] family crumble before her eyes.”  
Santos’ other niece, Ashley Williams told the board that while Koonce “has the ability to make an impact on people’s lives from inside prison,” he should never be released. 
The board voted in 2021 in favor of sending the request to commute Koonce’s sentence to the governor for approval.  
“Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not imply forgiveness or the underlying offense. Rather, a commutation remits a portion of the punishment,” the board emphasized. 
Standard-Times digital producer Linda Roy can be reached at lroy@s-t.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @LindaRoy_SCT. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times.

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Muhammad Mubeen Hassan

Hi. I am Muhammad Mubeen Hassan. I am SEO Expat and WordPress Websites Developer &  Blogger. 30 years old. I help entrepreneurs become go-to in their industry. And, I like helping the next one in line. You can follow my journey on my blog, for list Click Here If you need any post so you can email me on my this Email: mubeenh782@gmail.com  

Hi. I am Muhammad Mubeen Hassan. I am SEO Expat and Wordpress Websites Developer &  Blogger. 30 years old. I help entrepreneurs become go-to in their industry. And, I like helping the next one in line. You can follow my journey on my blog, for list Click Here If you need any post so you can email me on my this Email: mubeenh782@gmail.com  

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Realm Scans: Navigating the Uncharted Territories of Digital Discovery

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In the expansive landscape of digital exploration, there exists a realm where information becomes an adventure—Realm Scans. Beyond a mere scanning service, this digital haven is where curiosity converges with innovation, and the uncharted territories of digital discovery come to life. Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the unique dynamics of Realm Scans, navigating through the realms where information is not just scanned but transformed into a digital odyssey.

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At the core of Realm Scans lies a commitment to redefining how we interact with information. “Digital Horizons” delves into the innovative features and functionalities that make Realm Scans more than just a scanning service. It’s a digital gateway where documents become gateways to exploration, and information is a portal to new discoveries.

A standout feature is the user-centric approach that defines the Realm Scans experience. “Digital Horizons” explores how user interface design, accessibility, and intuitive navigation are seamlessly integrated to create an environment where users don’t just scan documents—they embark on a digital journey of discovery.

Realm Scans is not confined by the traditional boundaries of scanning; it is a catalyst for a digital revolution. “Digital Horizons” illustrates how Realm Scans empowers users to go beyond the expected, transforming the act of scanning into a dynamic and enriching experience that transcends conventional notions.

As we navigate through the digital horizons of Realm Scans, the article becomes a celebration of the fusion between technology and user experience. It is a recognition that in the world of digital services, there are realms where functionality meets innovation, and where information is a gateway to new digital frontiers.

“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just an article; it’s an ode to the tech enthusiasts, the information seekers, and the digital explorers who recognize the profound impact of a scanning service that goes beyond the surface. It’s an acknowledgment that in the realms of digital discovery, Realm Scans stands as a beacon, inviting users to embrace the transformative power of information in the digital age.

As Realm Scans continues to redefine the digital scanning landscape, “Digital Horizons” invites us to appreciate the nuances of a service that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary—an exploration where every scan is not just a document but a digital adventure waiting to be unfolded.

Harry Clam

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