McAuliffe pardons Travion Blount, who was given six life sentences as teenager

Travion Blount (WAVY)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A man who was sentenced to six life terms plus 118 years for a robbery that he committed when he was 15 years old has been partially pardoned by outgoing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Travion Blount was originally offered a plea deal of 14 years in prison for holding up a Norfolk house party in 2006, but decided to take his case to a jury trial. He reportedly took $65, two cell phones and three marijuana joints in the non-violent robbery.

He was convicted of 12 counts of abduction with intent to extort money, 10 counts of robbery, 24 counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of attempted robbery.

Two 18-year-olds who also took part in the robbery took plea deals and received 10- and 13-year sentences.

Blount had been trying to reduce his term to 10 to 20 years, citing the unconstitutionality of sentencing a juvenile who did not commit homicide to life without parole. His attorneys said the sentencing was a form of cruel and unusual punishment and an unreasonable application of federal law under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s finding in Graham v. Florida.

In 2014, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reduced Blount’s sentence to 40 years, but that threw a wrench into the argument against the life sentence.

However McDonnell’s decision was eventually voided by a federal judge, who said McDonnell overstepped his authority. That paved the way for Blount’s lawyers to push for a further reduction of his sentence.

McAuliffe’s partial pardon reduces Blount’s sentence to that original 14-year plea deal term. Blount’s attorneys cited how one of the two adult co-defendants in the case has already been released. The other adult who took part in the robbery is expected to be released in 2018.

If he remains on good behavior on conditions set by the Virginia Parole Board and successfully completes a re-entry program, Blount will be free to go at the end of his sentence.

He will then be on three years of supervised release.

McAuliffe also signed conditional pardons for five other Virginians on Friday, including for a former Navy veteran sentenced to two life sentences plus 110 years for several robberies and a woman who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for distributing $80 worth of crack cocaine.