Friday, February 04, 2011

NH farmer wins early release after gun sentence

A New Hampshire farmer who became a folk hero to gun rights activists after he was imprisoned for brandishing a handgun at a trespasser on his property won early release Wednesday. The New Hampshire Executive Council voted unanimously to free Ward Bird, just two months into his three-year sentence. His wife, Ginny, said he would come home to "lots of tears, lots of hugs and a big celebration." Bird, 49, of Moultonborough, had sought a full pardon to clear his name. The council voted in his favor, but Gov. John Lynch vetoed the pardon, saying the judicial system had given Bird's case a thorough review and he would not undermine that. The council then immediately voted to commute his sentence, and Lynch let that vote stand. "I, like the (sentencing) judge, have concerns the punishment does not fit the crime," Lynch said. Bird's felony conviction for criminal threatening with a firearm remains on his record. He can no longer possess guns. Attorney General Michael Delaney said a full pardon would have restored Bird's right to own and carry guns...more

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