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Clemency given to Wash. inmate who reported murder-for-hire plot

On her way out of office this week former Gov. Chris Gregoire commuted the life sentence of a prison snitch whose confessions to prison officials likely saved the lives of people being targeted by a convicted killer

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times

KING COUNTY — Former Gov. Chris Gregoire has commuted the life sentence of a man who blew the whistle on a fellow prison inmate’s plot to kill a King County prosecutor.

Johnny Ray Stewart, 44, who is serving a life term under the state’s “three strikes” law, is among 10 people who sentences were communted, received pardons or whose sentences were reduced by Gregoire in her final days in office.

In December 2001, Stewart told officials at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla that his cellmate, Steven Sherer, was plotting the killing of then-Senior Deputy Prosecutor Marilyn Brenneman.

Sherer apparently had promised another inmate $15,000 worth of jewels if he killed his former mother-in-law and Brenneman, who prosecuted him in 2000 for the murder of his wife. Sherer had claimed the jewels were buried underneath a house in Mill Creek, but authorities never found them, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole said on Wednesday.

At the time, Sherer was serving a 60-year sentence for killing his wife, Jami Sherer, who disappeared from the couple’s Redmond home and has never been found.

Full story: Clemency given to inmate who reported murder-for-hire plot

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