HATTIESBURG, MS - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalias' surprising death shocked the country Saturday night. Those who knew him in Mississippi are mourning the loss of a close friend and inspiration.
Former Federal Judge Charles Pickering said his 20-year friendship with Scalia was filled with many memories.
"We had a lot of trips and after 20 years we've probably hunted together 40 times," Pickering said.
Their friendship began when he invited Scalia to speak at The University of Southern Mississippi. At first, Scalia declined but changed his mind once Pickering mentioned a hunting trip.
Pickering and his friend Wesley Breland entertained him and they formed a close friendship. After they took him hunting and fishing, they decided to get together each year for more hunting trips.
Breland said he is happy that he had the opportunity to get to know an influential man like Scalia.
"He was respected by even those who violently disagreed with him, because he had the ability to disagree but not be disagreeable," Breland said.
In April, they were planning on meeting for another hunting trip so his death hits close to home for Pickering.
"More and more I realized what I was going to miss and all the times that we had together and that we would never have those times again," Pickering said.