PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Candidates running for Oregon governor are sounding off as Governor Brown potentially allows the murderer of a seven-year-old out of prison.

The two candidates KOIN 6 talked to say they’re unhappy with the way the clemency cases have been considered and say this case is an example of what’s wrong with the system.

“In 1999, my niece, Ashley Carlson, was taken from us. She was only seven years old,” Carlson’s aunt, Yvonne Hall, said.

Ashley Carlson’s family says she was “murdered in cold blood” by neighbor Patrick Lee Harned, who was 16 years old at the time. 

Harned was sentenced to life without parole for killing Carlson in Clatsop County.

With the anniversary of her death only seven days away, her family is reeling from the news that he could get early release. 

“Now our governor wants to give Patrick a second chance,” Hall said. “Ashley doesn’t get a second chance.”

Governor Brown is allowing hundreds of inmates who were convicted as juveniles to apply to have their sentences cut short. She’s already released three people who committed murders as teens and is allowing others to apply to the parole board for early release. 

“Last year, Oregon had a shocking increase of crime and the governor’s response is to allow violent criminals back into the communities,” Hall said.

Sandy mayor Stan Pulliam, who announced a run for the Republican ticket in Oregon’s upcoming 2022 race, stood by the family’s side during a press conference. 

“This action is completely out of touch with what Oregonians want and what we are experiencing on the ground here in our communities,” Pulliam said. “Families like Yvonne’s are forced to now live in fear as a man who murdered her 7-year-old niece is going to be released from prison early.”

Betsy Johnson, who is running for governor and unaffiliated with any political party, is also sounding off on the issue.

“I am just hopping mad about this,” Johnson said.

The former senator lives in the district where Carlson was murdered. She believes clemency, or early release, should not be considered in this case and says she’s also angry that Harned has been allowed to change his name while in prison.

Johnson noted that the public deserves a list of those who could get released early and the details on any name changes.

“I would call on the governor to keep this murderer who was given a life sentence by Judge Phillip Nelson, a judge of considerable rectitude and thoughtfulness, a life sentence, does not get to walk out after murdering and assaulting this little girl,” Johnson said.

KOIN 6 reached out to Brown’s office for comment on Carlson’s case over the past couple days but have not heard back.