Governor Kim Reynolds has rejected an application to make a woman convicted of murdering her nephew eligible for parole.
Iowa governors have the power to grant clemency, converting a life sentence to a period of years in prison, so an inmate would be eligible for parole. The Board of Parole had unanimously recommended Governor Reynolds consider the case of Denise Rhode. Rhode was sentenced to life in prison for the 1989 death of her nephew. The baby suffered a brain injury while she was babysitting him at her home in Norwalk.
Governor Reynolds says it remains unclear whether Rhode has “truly accepted responsibility” for her actions nearly 33 years ago. Reynolds says there was a difference in how Rhode described the crime on her clemency application form and what Rhode said during an interview with the Board of Parole.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports Iowa governors have commuted the sentences of just 40 people in the past 52 years.