Two weeks after his 18th birthday, Jesse Crosson along with three others, strung out on drugs and out of their minds, committed a home invasion robbery. Days later, in an unrelated event, Jesse had an altercation with two men who followed him when he tried to leave. As they chased him, Jesse shot at and hit them.
Jesse pleaded guilty to robbery, abduction, unlawful wounding and related charges.
The sentencing guidelines, established by the Virginia Sentencing Commission to promote fair and equal sentencing, called for 11-16 years for his convictions. Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. abandoned the sentencing guidelines calculated for Jesse’s crimes and sentenced him to twice the maximum suggested sentence, 32 years. Jesse’s codefendants were sentenced to 21/2, 4 and 8 years. All have been home for over a decade.
Jesse has been in prison for almost 18 years. He receives credit for good behavior, so his projected release date is October 2030.
Jesse is appealing to the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, for a conditional pardon for early release. Jesse has served more than the sixteen years called for by the high point of his guidelines. While serving his time, Jesse has gotten clean and sober and supports others in recovery. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Existential Psychology, trained as an Electronics Tech and graduated from Virginia’s Electrical Apprenticeship. Jesse leads programs, teaches Spanish and mentors in a mental health treatment pod.
For more information about Jesse’s story and his rehabilitation click here.
About Clemency, Parole and Pardons:
Pardon’s are considered for exceptional situations. Usually Virginia governors are reluctant to substitute their judgement for that of the courts. However, if an individual feels he can provide substantial evidence of such exceptional circumstances, he may submit a petition for pardon to the Governor. If this petition for clemency is denied, the petitioner has no right of appeal, but may reapply after a two-year waiting period.
Inmates who committed felony offenses on or after January 1, 1995 are not eligible for discretionary or mandatory parole in the state of Virginia.