Man who robbed taco shop with water pistol asks for clemency again after 40 years in prison

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (NewsNation Now) — In February 1981, Rolf Kaestel, armed with a toy water pistol, robbed an Arkansas taco shop of $264. He’s been incarcerated for 40 years for the crime.


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Kaestel was 29 when he robbed the shop. He’ll turn 70 on June 2.

He was sentenced on June 5, 1981 to life in prison and a $15,000 fine for aggravated robbery.

The man who managed the taco shop, and handed Kaestel the money during the robbery, has recommended his release. Dennis Schluterman appealed to then-Governor Mike Beebe in a YouTube video on Oct. 29, 2014.

Kaestel is awaiting a decision from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on another clemency application. The governor has a little more than 90 days to make a decision. In 2015, Hutchinson denied Kaestel clemency.

Kaestel is part of the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ Interstate Compact and is now housed in Utah. 

Kaestel appears to never have violated prison rules during his four decades as an inmate, according to the website.

He’s earned three associate’s degrees and several college credits while in prison.


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According to ADC’s website: The Interstate Compact staff serves as the communication liaisons between Arkansas offices and out-of-state offices and are responsible for processing the initial investigation requests for transfer of supervision from and to other states, progress reports, and extraditions. The Compact Office also provides official notice of the Probation/Parole officer’s acceptance or rejection of the offenders for interstate transfer of supervision.

NewsNation affiliate KNWA and KFTA contributed to this report.

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