BURNS, Oregon — Steve and Dwight Hammond arrived at the airport in Burns this morning after being pardoned by President Trump and released from prison. They were serving terms for an arson that spread from their land to federal land.
“We’re doing a lot of decompressing and getting back to our families,” said Steve Hammond, who continued to say it’s nice to be out, but it’s going to be a difficult adjustment. He served four years of his five year sentence. “There’s been a lot of people that have supported us at this point …I hope they know how much we appreciate them.”
Dwight Hammond, who served three years of his five year term, says they’re “working through it.”
They were initially sentenced to three months and a year in prison, but federal prosecutors challenged the sentence and got it increased to five years. Their imprisonment was the inspiration for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
“The standoff, I believe they had good intentions,” said Steve Hammond. “I don’t know how it was received, I was out of the picture by that point.”
The Hammonds thanked the people who sent thousands of letters while they were in prison, and thanked President Trump for his pardon.