Caril Ann Fugate's Pardoning Case to Be Heard Tuesday

Feb. 17, 2020, 3:56 p.m. ·

The Nebraska Pardons Board will hear the case of Caril Ann Fugate Tuesday. At the age of 14 years old, Fugate was convicted of felony murder along with Charles Starkweather, a man who murdered seven people in Nebraska and Wyoming in the late 1950’s. Fugate, who was Starkweather’s girlfriend, is seeking a pardon in the case.

Liza Ward, granddaughter of murder victims C. Lauer Ward and Clara Ward, along with Fugate's attorney spoke with reporters Monday. She says she wants to see Fugate pardoned because of inconsistencies in her original trial, including that Starkweather changed his testimony multiple times before taking the stand.

“We are inclined to hear his [Starkweather’s] story while the girl’s is swallowed. That is something that is unconscionable to me. And it’s disrespectful not only to women everywhere, but it is disrespectful to the victims who were killed by him,” Ward said.

Ward hopes to be able to speak before the pardoning board along with Fugate’s attorney, John Stevens Berry, Sr.

Stevens Berry says Fugate would have been treated as a victim-witness in today’s legal system, and pardoning her is simply the right thing to do given the lack of evidence against her.

“I’m going to say this—do it because it’s the right thing. From Liza’s point of view, that includes mercy and understanding. You know what my point of view is? She [Fugate] was railroaded and she was innocent. But I agree with Liza, they should do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Stevens Berry said.

Tuesday’s hearing is the second attempt by Fugate to be pardoned. The first attempt was in 1996 when she was denied a pardon. She was paroled in 1976 after spending 17 years in prison.