Chafee said John Gordon's pardon was "long overdue," The Providence Journal reported.
Gordon was convicted of killing Amasa Sprague, a wealthy mill owner and brother of a U.S. senator, and was put to death Feb. 14, 1845. Rhode Island hasn't executed anyone since.
It was later determined his trial was unfair and that he was the victim of prejudice against Irish Catholic immigrants, the newspaper said. State Rep. Peter Martin, D-Newport, sponsored the measure to have Gordon pardoned.