Man whose sentence commuted by ex-governor to plead guilty

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man whose sentence was commuted by former Gov. Matt Bevin is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court, where he is charged with producing child pornography, according to court records.

Dayton R. Jones, 27, of Hopkinsville, pleaded guilty in state court five years ago to first-degree sodomy, first-degree wanton endangerment and distributing material portraying a sexual performance by a minor. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

But after three years, Bevin commuted Jones' sentence to time served, one of hundreds of pardons and commutations the Republican former governor issued in his final days in office.

Jones allegedly took part in a sexual assault on an unconscious teenage boy, made a video and posted it to social media, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Jones is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 20 to change his plea to guilty, according to the court docket. The docket entry was first reported by the Herald-Leader.

A federal grand jury indicted Jones in June 2020 on a charge of using a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction.

The charge carries a minimum 15-year prison sentence. The docket does not say what charge Jones will plead to or address the length of his sentence. His attorney did not respond to the newspaper's requests for comment.

Bevin has said there was no evidence of Jones’ guilt, though others involved in the crime implicated Jones and the prosecutor strongly disagreed the evidence was lacking.

Federal authorities also pursued a charge against another person Bevin let out of prison. Patrick Baker's family had held a political fundraiser for Bevin in 2018.

A federal court jury convicted Baker, 43, last month on a charge of murdering a drug dealer in Knox County in 2014 while trying to rob him of pain pills and cash.

Baker was convicted in 2017, but Bevin pardoned him in December 2019.

Baker's sentencing is scheduled for December. He faces up to life in prison.