Friday, September 21, 2007

Paey arrives home after governor's pardon

September 20, 2007

HUDSON -- Just hours after the governor granted him a full pardon, Richard Paey arrived home to Pasco County this evening.

Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet granted the pardon this morning, voting unanimously to free Paey from drug trafficking convictions and a 25-year sentence.

The governor ordered Paey be freed today.

"I couldn't believe it," said Paey's mother, Helen Paey. "I'm shaking. I'm shaking all over!"

The Paey family was as stunned as anyone. Paey, 48, was convicted in 2004 of drug trafficking charges and sentenced to a minimum mandatory sentence. But the drugs were for Paey's own chronic pain, the result of a car crash, back surgery and multiple sclerosis.

Paey only asked for commutation of sentence to time served at this morning's clemency board meeting in Tallahassee. Then this surprised them as well: the state is bringing Paey from the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach to his Beacon Woods home. His ETA is around 7 p.m.

Paey got the news from her daughter in law around 5 p.m. Linda Paey was going to drive herself and the couple's three teens to Daytona Beach to pick up their father herself, but then she got a call at 2 p.m. that she should head home.

On the way home she stopped at Helen Paey's assisted living facility in Hudson to give her the good news and bring her mother-in-law home along with the rest of the family.

When the clan arrived home at 5:30 p.m., they were greeted by jubilant neighbors and TV news trucks.

"Welcome home!!" read the banner Ira and Darlene Price raised on the Paeys' garage.

Jamal Thalji, Times staff writer

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