A man convicted of shooting a stranger in the head and killing him during a 1993 robbery attempt in Lawrence is asking the governor for a pardon.
“I take full responsibility of the death and murder of Edward Lees and feel remorse everyday for him and his family,” Abe Orr, 34, says in his clemency application.
Orr was convicted of committing the September 1993 crime at the entrance to Riverfront Park in North Lawrence.
Lees, the victim, was with his girlfriend and her two children when Orr and two friends tried to carjack his Isuzu Trooper. Orr, then 17, shot Lees through a window when he refused to get out of the vehicle.
“It’s one of the county’s most senseless cases, it was just flat out a cold-blooded murder,” said Charles Branson, current Douglas County district attorney.
Jerry Wells, the former district attorney who prosecuted the case, said Orr, who was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison for the murder, has no business back on the streets.
“I don’t know that that kind of personality, that kind of makeup in someone that shoots somebody in cold blood, could ever justify release,” Wells said, during an interview Wednesday at his Lawrence home.
In his application — incorrectly addressed to Gov. Mike Parkinson — Orr asks the governor to pardon him from serving any more time for murder and to let him begin serving his sentence of 32 months for the attempted aggravated robbery he was convicted of. He cites prison overcrowding, mental health counseling and his ailing family as criteria for the pardon.
As part of the state’s clemency application process, the judge, prosecuting attorney, sheriff and police chief located in the county of conviction are given a chance to respond, before the information is passed onto the governor for a decision. The parole board, which organizes the applications, said it receives about 40 of them a year.
“It just absolutely shocks the senses that this person would be asking for a pardon, or clemency, from the governor’s office for a crime such as this,” Branson said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Shortly after his initial arrest, prosecutors said Orr reportedly grabbed a jailer and threatened to break his neck during an escape attempt from the jail. During his time in prison, a sentence that has been served primarily at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, Orr’s been written up for multiple thefts, batteries, lewd acts, fights, assaults and other behavior reports.
Branson said Orr has shown little remorse during his time in custody and the prosecutor sent a letter to the parole board objecting to the man’s clemency application, which will be forwarded to the governor in March for a decision.