California Gov. Gavin Newsom says a man he met as a child who had been wrongfully convicted of murder inspired him to place a moratorium on executions.

Newsom says he met Pete Pianezzi through his father and grandfather when he was about 10 years old. Pianezzi had been convicted of a 1937 double murder and later was pardoned by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 1981.

Newsom’s father, who had been a judge, played a key role in convincing Brown to issue the pardon, declaring him innocent.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty at his Capitol office Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty at his Capitol office Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Newsom cited that case Wednesday as he granted reprieve to 737 inmates currently on death row.

He says the death penalty is applied unevenly and the state should not be in the business of killing people.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty at his Capitol office Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty at his Capitol office Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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