It’s not unusual for a chief executive to issue pardons on the way out the door, and most of the people freed by Mr. Bevin this week were serving low-level drug convictions. But the governor also released inmates who had been convicted of violent crimes, including one whose family had supported his campaign.

Drawing particular scrutiny was the pardon of Mr. Baker, who was convicted of shooting and killing a man during a home invasion in 2014; he was later sentenced to 19 years in prison. His family hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Bevin that raised $21,500 last year, The Courier Journal reported.

In an executive order pardoning Mr. Baker, the former governor wrote that “the evidence supporting his conviction is sketchy at best.” He said that Mr. Baker had “made a series of unwise decisions in his adult life” and that “his drug addiction resulted in his association with people that in turn led to his arrest, prosecution and conviction for murder.”

Two other men who participated in the home invasion did not receive pardons and remain in prison.