Minnesota’s Pardon Board denies early release for Duluth man convicted of murdering 3 others in 1994

Late Tuesday morning, a Duluth man who’s been behind bars for nearly 30 years after being convicted in the murders of three men found out he won’t be getting an early release.

Minnesota’s Pardon Board – made of Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Supreme Court Chief Justice Natalie Hudson – met Tuesday to hear pardoning requests, including one from Todd Michael Warren, who had written to them saying he wasn’t the same impulsive boy he was 30 years ago.

Tuesday’s hearing was emotionally charged, with dozens in the room waiting for the Board’s decision.

After deliberating for more than half an hour, all three members of the Pardon Board denied Warren’s request.

A unanimous decision means Warren won’t be able to apply for an early release again for another five years.

Warren spoke from prison during the meeting, and first addressed the family members of his three victims – Keith Hermanson, Peter Moore and Samuel Witherspoon – with an apology.

He went on to say he’s dedicated his time in prison to service work and helping other inmates and would like to continue his work outside of prison.

The victims’ loved ones said they applaud the things he has done while inside prison but added that doesn’t mean he deserves an early release. They continued on, saying getting out after three decades in prison means each life taken was only worth 10 years, which one family member told the panel wasn’t justice.

Warren’s case unfolded at a Duluth house party back in March of 1994, when Warren claimed he saw his girlfriend’s friend being raped.

Records state Warren, who was 18 at the time, then drove over 20 miles to his parent’s home, grabbed his dad’s gun, and returned to the party, where he fatally shot the three men.

Warren was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to three life terms, but a judge ruled Warren could petition for parole after 30 years, which is exactly what Warran did this summer, writing to the Pardon Board that he takes responsibility and has changed.

However, the family of the three victims were fiercely against the request.

Of those actively serving a sentence, the Board granted only three of 89 pardon applications last year.