By John Lyon
Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK — For at least the 13th time, the state Parole Board on Tuesday recommended clemency for a woman who has been serving a life sentence for capital murder since 1978.
The board said in its recommendation to Gov. Mike Beebe that earlier this month it voted 5-0 in support of clemency for 55-year-old Twyanna Faye Martin, who was convicted in the Sept. 4, 1977, drowning death of 17-year-old Calvin Smith. The crime occurred when Martin was 19.
Martin cannot be paroled, but the governor could commute her sentence to time served.
Martin was convicted in Pulaski County Circuit Court along with three others in Smith’s death. Prosecutors said Martin was with her boyfriend, Martin Hallman, and two other men when they abducted Smith, whom they suspected of burglarizing the couple’s Little Rock apartment.
Smith was beaten and pushed into the Arkansas River on the North Little Rock side, according to prosecutors.
Hallman, Wallace Lewis and Henry Harris all were convicted of capital murder and kidnapping and sentenced to life without parole.
Martin wrote in her application for clemency that she stayed behind in a car when the men took Smith to the river and that she did not know at the time what happened to Smith. She said she has grown as a person, has obtained a GED and could be a productive member of society if released.
The Parole Board noted in its records that a brother of the victim joined several of Martin’s relatives in asking for her release.
The Parole Board has been recommending clemency for Martin since 1986, but to date no governor has granted it. This is the fourth time the board has recommended to Beebe that he commute Martin’s sentence.