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The Latest: Victim of armed robbery calls pardon 'unjust'

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Friday, May 19, 2017 07:31 pm

DENVER The Latest on a Cuban felon facing deportation after huge prison mix up (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Jason Kasperek, the assistant manager at a video store that Rene Lima-Marin and an accomplice robbed in 1998, said Lima-Marin should be back in prison.

"I just think that it's scandalous how he used the system," Kasperek said of Lima-Marin, recalling how the robbers held a rifle to his head as they forced him to open the store safe. "I think it's completely ridiculous. It's unjust for all victims who have been involved in it."

Kasperek worked at one of two video stores that Lima-Marin and his accomplice Michael Clifton robbed. They were convicted on multiple robbery, kidnapping and burglary counts. Clifton is still in prison, serving his 98-year sentence.

Kasperek said he previously had supported allowing Lima-Marin to go free. But he changed his mind after learning Lima-Marin's co-defendant's prison paperwork had the same mistake but it was corrected when he appealed.

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4:15 p.m.

While Gov. John Hickenlooper issued a pardon for a Cuban immigrant facing possible deportation after he was ordered free from prison, a co-defendant in a video store robbery won't get the same treatment.

Rene Lima-Marin was mistakenly released from prison, returned and then set free. Rene Lima-Marin was convicted in 2000 of multiple felonies after he and another man robbed two video stores at gunpoint. He was mistakenly released in 2008. He then held a steady job installing glass, got married and has a 10-year-old stepson and 7-year-old son who was born while he was out of prison.

Both Lima-Marin and co-defendant Michael Clifton received 98-year sentences. Authorities discovered the same error that led to Lima-Marin's mistaken release in Clifton's paperwork but corrected it when he appealed his sentence. An appellate court upheld Clifton's decades-long sentence and he remains incarcerated.

When asked whether he considered pardoning or reducing Lima-Marin's sentence, Hickenlooper replied: "His co-defendant stabbed someone in prison. That's not rehabilitating your life."

A message left at Clifton's appellate attorney was not immediately returned.

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4 p.m.

The attorney for a Cuban immigrant facing possible deportation after he was mistakenly released from prison, returned and then set free this week says it's far from certain that his client won't be deported, despite a governor's pardon.

Immigration attorney Hans Meyer said they'll now ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to reopen the case, vacate the deportation order from 2000 and ask that Lima-Marin's legal permanent status be reinstated.

State officials do not have jurisdiction over federal immigration matters but Gov. John Hickenlooper's pardon Friday eliminates the legal basis for why Lima-Marin faces deportation.

"This is a tremendous first step," Meyer said.

A toddler when his parents came to the United States from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boat lift, a judge revoked Lima-Marin's legal residency and ordered him deported after his conviction in an armed robbery.

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3:15 p.m.

Colorado's governor has pardoned a Cuban immigrant facing possible deportation after he was mistakenly released from prison, returned and then set free this week.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday that Rene Lima-Marin has become a "law abiding, productive member of this community" after his accidental release from prison. He said he agreed with a judge's ruling this week that keeping Lima-Marin behind bars after he was released and started a family and new life would be "draconian."

Earlier in the day, Lima-Marin's wife, Jasmine, said she was prepared to uproot her life in the United States to go live with him in Cuba should he be deported.

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2:40 p.m.

The wife of a Cuban immigrant set to rejoin his family after he was mistakenly released from prison, then put back, says she would uproot her life in Colorado to go with him.

Jasmine Lima-Marin said she's hopeful that her husband, Rene, won't be deported to Cuba.

Rene Lima-Marin was convicted in 2000 of multiple felonies after he and another man robbed two video stores at gunpoint. He was mistakenly released in 2008. He then held a steady job installing glass, got married and has a 10-year-old stepson and 7-year-old son who was born while he was out of prison.

A toddler when his parents came to the United States from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boat lift, a judge revoked his legal residency and ordered him deported after his conviction.

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