Lexius Saint Martin, the Waterville man deported to Haiti last year in a high-profile and contentious case that separated him from his wife and children, has been pardoned by Gov. Janet Mills.

“I can confirm that Governor Mills has pardoned Mr. St. Martin,” Lindsay Crete, Mills’ press secretary, wrote Wednesday morning in an email. “After Governor Mills took office, Lexius St. Martin’s case was brought to her attention and she requested that the Executive Clemency Board review the matter.

“After the Board and the Governor reviewed the matter, the Governor determined that Mr. St. Martin deserved a pardon and granted it on August 29, 2019.”

Saint Martin, 36, has been in Haiti since February 2018, when he was deported after being arrested Jan. 2 of that year by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Saint Martin was arrested on the Waterville street where he lived. He had just left his house to go to work.

He and his wife, Mindy, have three children. Mindy Saint Martin declined to comment on the pardon Wednesday.

“I’m not doing any interviews at this time,” she said in an email. “I have to take time to process it all and start filing waivers with immigration.”

Linda Woods, a former high school English teacher of Mindy Saint Martin, has been supporting the family in its efforts since Lexius was deported. Woods said Wednesday she was pleased with Mills’ decision.

“I am grateful that Gov. Mills decided to pardon Lexius so he has the opportunity to rejoin his family,” Woods said. “I look forward to meeting this man about whom I have heard so many positive things. May the next steps to bringing Lexius home go smoothly.”

In 2007, Lexius Saint Martin was arrested for trafficking in cocaine. He was convicted in 2008, served seven months in jail and vowed never to get involved in anything illegal again. However, he had violated his immigration status, and an immigration judge ordered his removal.

Saint Martin was taken to Texas, where he awaited deportation. He was released when Haiti suffered an earthquake and could not take people back. The deportation order, however, was not rescinded.

Three years later, in 2010, Lexius met and fell in love with Mindy. She said she would not date him unless he got a job. Two days later, he landed a job cleaning for a business at a hospital in Boothbay, and later started his own successful business, LMD Cleaning Services.

He had been living in the United States since 1994, arriving as an 11-year-old refugee with his father and siblings. He was in the United States legally and had green card status. He attended school in Florida, and later came to Maine to work in the blueberry fields. He ended up staying.

On Feb. 3 of last year, a crowd rallied outside City Hall in Waterville, calling on Maine’s top politicians to help Saint Martin return to the United States.

In November 2018, then-Gov. Paul LePage denied a request to pardon the underlying trafficking conviction for  Saint Martin. A pardon would not have automatically brought Saint Martin back to the United States, but it would have helped pave the way for his lawyer at the time, Evan Fisher, to appeal to federal officials in the effort.

Fisher no longer represents the Saint Martins, and Mindy Saint Martin has been working on the matter on her own for the past several months.

The Governor’s Board of Executive Clemency held a hearing July 19, 2018,  on the request to pardon the conviction, and then made a recommendation to LePage. That recommendation was not made public.

Later, LePage responded to a text message from a reporter requesting comment, saying he really did not have much to add as to why he rejected the pardon request.

“My problem with this case was he had nearly 10 years to address the pardon and his immigration issues,” LePage said. “He completely ignored our laws until they caught up with him. Where was his support system during this time? Why was he not thinking of his family and what if — he got deported!!!!!!”

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