Mississippians outraged over numerous pardons

Mississippians outraged over more than 200 pardons
Mississippians outraged over more than 200 pardons

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Since 2008 former Governor Haley Barbour has granted pardons to more than 200 people, a  majority of which came on his last day as governor. As this news spreads, people are expressing their outrage.

There are eight pages which show over 99 percent of the prisoners pardoned by Barbour were granted clemency during his last week as governor.

Among those pardoned were criminals we all may remember:

Earnest Scott Favre, older brother of retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre, was convicted of driving drunk and causing his friend's death.

Karen Irby, a former Jackson socialite, was serving 18 years for manslaughter in the deaths of two doctors from a DUI related crash.

Gregg Patrick Gibbes, a Laurel man, was sentenced to 10 years for the drunk driving crash that killed an Ole Miss student.

Well known cases or not, Barbour's pardons of murderers, and sex offenders is inciting anger among Mississippians.

"If they do the crime they need to pay the price. They need to stay in jail where they belong. They don't need to be out here harassing everybody else, because if you do it one time you are going to do it again. So, why let them out?! If he wants to let them out he needs to go up there and stay with them!, " said a Pine Belt resident.

"You've been convicted. You're guilty. Our justice system is there for a reason so if we are giving pardons to people that have been found guilty, than what is our justice system there for?," said Petal resident.

"I feel like if you are in a position to actually give a pardon, I feel like you should do a little research on who you are giving a pardon to. You are ultimately responsible for who you are giving a pardon to," said Hattiesburg resident.

A question that hasn't been answered by Barbour is why, and Assistant District Attorney for Jones County,  J. Ronald Parrish thinks he has the answer.

"It is one of the most outrageous abuses of executive power that I have ever witnessed in my 65 years of life here in the state of Mississippi," said Parrish.

Parrish says he is also suspicious of the timing of the releases.

"If they needed to be out why didn't he have the guts to do it after his first term in office. He waited until he wasn't running anymore and released them in mass," said Parrish.

According to published reports, some of the prisoners who were pardoned were trusties at the governor's mansion, and in the Magnolia state it is a custom for governors to pardon those trusties who served at the historic residence. A practice Parrish says needs to end.

"Well,  that's just a bunch of bull crap. I don't care what kind of custom it is. If it is a custom to turn loose convicted murders because they fix you a little totty every night before you go to bed they need to cut it out!," said Parrish.

Cutting it out is something law makers a preparing to discuss according to State Representative David Baria.

"The other bill that we're talking about filing would prevent those convicted of capital murder from serving as trusties at the governor's mansion because that appears to be a path to pardon,"said Baria.

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