Barbour Takes Heat for Pardoning Murderers

He has said that pardoning mansion workers is a tradition
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2012 2:32 PM CST
Barbour Takes Heat for Pardoning Murderers
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 17, 2011 in New Orleans.   (Getty Images)

Haley Barbour has issued last-minute pardons to at least five convicts who worked for him at the governor's mansion—four of whom were convicted of murder, and one who was denied parole less than two weeks ago, MSNBC reports. The Mississippi governor, who left office yesterday, has said in the past that pardoning convict trustees who work at the mansion is a long-standing tradition, but the families of the men's victims are nonetheless furious.

"It's like it's happened all over again to us," says the sister of a woman who was shot by her husband, the newly pardoned David Gatlin, in 1993. "He shot her in the head while she was holding a baby. He's a cold-blooded murderer." All three previous Mississippi governors since 1988 have issued similar last-minute trustee pardons, with 10 of the 12 going to convicted murderers. Democratic lawmakers are calling for an end to the practice. (More Haley Barbour stories.)

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