AFTER FAILING TO issue a single pardon or commutation in his first seven years in office, Gov. Charlie Baker continued to use his final months in office to wield his pardon power.
Baker on Wednesday recommended three more pardons, building on the eight pardons he issued in October and seven in November. He also commuted the sentences of two men convicted of first-degree murder in January 2022.
The three latest pardons were all for old offenses and were recommended by the state’s Advisory Board of Pardons. They still need approval by the Governor’s Council before they go into effect.
The pardon recipients are John Austin, Phillip Hagar, and Edmund Mulvehill.
Austin was convicted of a second offense of driving under the influence in 1996 in Natick and given a year of probation. He was stopped by the police for driving erratically, admitted to drinking, and failed field sobriety tests.
According to the Board of Pardons report, Austin grew up in Watertown and served in the US Marine Corps. He then trained for and got a job as a radiology technician, and he continues to work at Mount Auburn Hospital today. He has also served with the Natick Fire Department since 2001 and is now deputy chief.
After his second conviction, Austin said he realized he should no longer drink, and he has been sober ever since.
Austin has been unable to get a license to carry a firearm because of the conviction. He also worries that his conviction will prevent him from becoming a fire chief.
Hagar was convicted in 1971 of discharging a firearm near a highway and fined $35. He says he fired a gun at a deer, not realizing he was near a highway, and the Boxford Police Department received a complaint.
Hagar, now 83 and a great-grandfather, said he held a firearms license for 40 years and was a member of the Danvers Fish and Game Club, but he was recently deemed ineligible because of his old conviction.
Mulvehill was convicted of two counts of armed robbery in 1977 and sentenced to seven years in prison, suspended for three years of probation. Mulvehill used a knife to rob a store clerk at a Norwood gas station on two consecutive days, stealing $209. He says he struggled with abusing drugs and alcohol after traumatic experiences in combat serving with the US Air Force in Southeast Asia, and he needed money to pay rent. After the robberies, he said he turned his life around and became dedicated to helping disabled veterans.
Mulvehill worked for the US Postal Service and has been director of veterans’ services in Norwood for over 20 years. He has been active in numerous veterans’ organizations and the Norwood Town Democratic Committee. He wants to obtain a firearms license to protect his family.