Florida pardons The Doors' Jim Morrison

Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:28pm EST
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By Michael Peltier

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Rock and roll icon Jim Morrison was pardoned on Thursday by the Florida clemency board for exposing himself at a raucous concert in 1969, an act the late singer and many concert-goers denied ever took place.

Outgoing Governor Charlie Crist and the clemency board voted unanimously to pardon The Doors' lead singer, who would have turned 67 on December 8.

Morrison, the bad boy "lizard king" who became a symbol of the turbulent, sexually charged 1960s, was sentenced to six months in jail for his conviction on misdemeanor charges of profanity and indecent exposure.

He never served any time and was appealing his conviction when he died in Paris in 1971 at age 27. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but drugs have always been suspected.

Morrison fans had been urging Crist, a Doors fan whose term ends next month, to pardon Morrison for the incident that allegedly occurred during the concert at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium.

The inebriated singer taunted fans during the performance. Although there were numerous photographs from the concert, none supported accusations Morrison had exposed his penis and briefly simulated masturbation.

Morrison admitted using profanity but denied the other charges. During his trial, some concert-goers testified they saw the alleged acts but many others testified they observed the entire concert and never saw them.

Crist and three Cabinet officials who make up the clemency panel granted the pardon, with the governor arguing that Morrison's death prevented him from exercising his fundamental right to appeal his conviction.   Continued...

<p>A fan holds an album by the seventies rock group The Doors and a candle near the tomb of late singer Jim Morrison during a ceremony marking what would have been Morrison's 60th birthday at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, December 8, 2003. REUTERS/John Schults</p>