Mississippi Governor Pardons Murderers Before Leaving Office
Reuters named the four pardoned inmates as Charles Hooker, a middle school teacher convicted in 1993 of murdering his school's principal; Anthony McCray, convicted of killing his wife in 2001; Joseph Ozment, convicted in 1993 of murder, conspiracy and armed robbery; and David Gatlin, convicted of shooting his estranged wife in the head while she held their baby in 1993. Gatlin was denied parole in December.
The men were released from prison Sunday afternoon, without input from their respective victim’s families.
Tammy Gatlin's sister, Tiffany Ellis Brewer, told CNN Gatlin served less time than her sister lived.
“It's completely unfair,” she said. “I mean, he's in jail for 18 years. She was 20 years old when she died and had her child laying in her arms when he shot her in the head. And he's pardoned?”
The inmates’ duties included waiting tables and other kitchen duties as well as cleaning and washing vehicles.
The governor’s office declined to comment or offer a rationale for the pardons but in Barbour, a Republican, wrote in the executive orders granting the pardons that each man “proved to be a diligent and dedicated workman.”
Members of the victims’ families joined Democratic legislators who called for limits on the governor’s ability to pardon murderers.
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