RI Senate panel OKs pardon for man hanged in 1845

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Rhode Island is one step closer to pardoning the last man executed in the state.

A Senate panel on Wednesday endorsed legislation calling on Gov. Lincoln Chafee to pardon John Gordon, an Irish immigrant hanged in 1845 for the murder of a wealthy Rhode Island mill owner. Historians and law professors now say Gordon was wrongfully convicted after a trial tainted by anti-Irish bigotry.

Wednesday’s vote sends the measure to the full Senate for consideration.

The legislation has already passed the House. Chafee, an independent, has said he supports the pardon.

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