SPRINGFIELD -- On the eve of Thanksgiving, Gov. Pat Quinn granted clemency to 81 people seeking gubernatorial pardons and the expungement of their criminal records, including a woman convicted in 1982 of voluntary manslaughter.
"This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration," according to a statement released late Wednesday afternoon by the governor's office.
While Quinn officially forgave 81 people of their crimes and moved to wipe their slates clean, he rejected petitions from another 88 people seeking clemency, the governor's office said.
The woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter is Chicagoan Felicia Williams.
She was convicted of stabbing to death her live-in boyfriend, Lonnie Brown, after he became drunk and attacked her in their Chicago home, said Ken Tupy, general counsel for the Prisoner Review Board.
"The night of the voluntary manslaughter, he'd been drinking. She told him he had to get out of the house. He attacked her, hit her in the throat and started choking her," Tupy said, citing information contained in her clemency petition. "He took a 15-pound decanter and hit her in the head. She was wrestling with him, broke free, ran to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and stabbed him."
Williams, now 55, did not serve prison time for the felony but instead was sentenced to four years of probation and 120 days of work release.
She has had no subsequent convictions and needed the crime wiped away from her record in order to obtain a job in the health-care industry, Tupy said.
Since taking office, Quinn has taken action on more than 2,200 clemency petitions, granting 842 of the requests and denying nearly 1,400 of them.