Friday, December 18, 2009

Has Haley Barbour ever met a woman-killer he didn't like?

That seems to be a good question, reports Slate:
I happen to think Huckabee’s getting a raw deal on the Clemmons case; instead, we should be talking about the truly bizarre pardon record of one of Huckabee’s possible competitors for the nomination, Haley Barbour. The governor of Mississippi has simultaneously ignored increasing evidence that there may be a disturbingly high number of innocent people in prison in Mississippi and handed out pardons to the convicted murderers who just happen to do work on his house….

….Over the last two years, as reported by the Jackson Free Press, Barbour has pardoned, granted clemency to, or suspended the sentences of at least five convicted murderers, four of whom killed their wives or girlfriends. Those four are:

Bobby Hays Clark, who in 1996 shot his ex-girlfriend in the neck and beat her boyfriend with a broom handle. Clark, who had a previous aggravated assault conviction, was sentenced to 38 years. Barbour pardoned him last year without notifying the family of Clark’s victim.

Michael David Graham, who in 1989 shot his ex-wife point-blank with a shotgun while she waited at a traffic light. Barbour suspended Graham’s life sentence, and he was released.

Clarence Jones, who stabbed his ex-girlfriend 22 times in 1992. She had previously filed multiple assault and trespassing charges against him. He was sentenced to life in prison. Barbour pardoned him last year.

Paul Joseph Warnock, who in 1989 shot his girlfriend in the back of the head as she slept. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1993. Barbour pardoned him last year.
They're just good ol' boys, really.

But wait! There's an exception to the rule:
Barbour also pardoned William James Kimble, convicted and sentenced to life for robbing and murdering an elderly man in 1991.
Maybe Mr. Kimble was mistaken, and thought he was murdering an elderly lady instead.

... Article by Radley Balko, who notes the contrast between Barbour's woman-killin' buddies and the governor's apparent indifference to the possibility that many people in Mississippi have been wrongly convicted based on the hack science of Steven Hayne and Michael West. The article has plenty of follow-up links for those interested.

(H/t bellesouth.)

... UPDATED 1/9/12 to fix expired Slate link, and to note that Barbour's tolerant view towards uxoricide continues:
In 1993, David Glenn Gatlin leveled a gun at the head of his wife, Tammy, and killed her while she held their 2-month-old child, then turned the gun on family friend Randy Walker and shot him in the head as well. Walker survived.

Gatlin was convicted in 1994 in Rankin County and given life for murder, 20 years for aggravated assault and 10 years for residential burglary. He has been a trusty at the Governor's Mansion since Nov. 19, 2009, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections' Website.

That status apparently is what has helped Gatlin, now 40, get a pardon from Barbour.
He's jes a good ol' boy, I'm sure.

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