AP FACT CHECK: Man pardoned by Obama not arrested for murder

AP News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2017 1:38 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former inmate didn't murder his girlfriend after receiving a pardon from President Barack Obama, despite claims made in a widely shared story. The man named in the account isn't on a government list of pardons or commutations granted by Obama, and a mugshot accompanying the article is from a suspect in an unrelated case.

The story said a Gainesville, Florida, man named James G. Winters was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend on Feb. 27, a day after her body was discovered. The story said Winters was granted a pardon from drug trafficking and weapons convictions that led to a life sentence.

No one by the name James Winters appears on the Justice Department list of pardons and commutations granted by Obama.

Also, the story includes a mugshot of a man named Avery Draughty, who was convicted last year of an unrelated 2013 killing.

The story was shared by a site called The Underground Report, whose founder said he started it in late February to fabricate stories intended to fool supporters of President Donald Trump.

A disclaimer linked to the story after publication stated that the site produces stories that "are not based in reality."

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This story is part of an ongoing Associated Press effort to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.