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Report: Gov. Barbour pardons convicted murderer
by The Associated Press
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Former Gov. Haley Barbour addresses a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature for a final time in House Chambers at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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JACKSON — Mississippi Democrats and a victim's relatives have criticized outgoing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour for pardoning or offering early release to a convicted murderer on Barbour's final weekend in office.

WLBT-TV reports that Barbour has pardoned 40-year-old David Gatlin and that he was to be released Sunday. Online state records show he was sentenced to life in prison for murder, aggravated assault and burglary convictions. Records show Gatlin served as a trustee inmate at the governor's mansion.

The news station reports Gatlin turned himself in to authorities in 1993 and admitted killing his estranged wife, Tammy Ellis Gatlin, and wounding Randy Walker. The victim's sister, Tiffany Ellis Brewer, said that Gatlin "spent less time in jail than my little sister got to live."

"I don't know if Governor Barbour has kids but if one of his kids were murdered, I would like to think that he would want them to be put in prison until they died or the appropriate time," she told the news station.

House Democratic caucus Leader Bobby Moak said in a statement Sunday evening that the governor's action was "the latest in a long line of irresponsible decisions by a party that claims to stand for law and order."

"I know that people will say that lame duck pardons are a political tradition but this is one tradition that needs to go away," Moak said. "The people of Mississippi and their justice system deserve better. In the past we have tried to limit this authority by allowing law enforcement and victims' families the opportunity to have their voice heard on these decisions that bypass the parole board. It's time to make these changes."

Representatives of the governor's office and the Mississippi Department of Correction did not respond to email and phone messages left Sunday evening. It was unclear if Gatlin had actually been freed.

Barbour leaves office Tuesday.

Many people on the Mississippi coast were angered in 2008 when Barbour suspended the sentence of Michael Graham, who was serving a life sentence for murder in the 1989 death of his ex-wife. Graham had worked at the governor's mansion as a prison worker in a tradition that dates back generations in Mississippi.

The governor's mansion jobs typically go to convicted murderers because they're the ones who have served enough time to gain the trust to do it, prison officials said.

At the time, Barbour said it was also tradition for governors to pardon the inmate workers at the governor's mansion.

Barbour's three predecessors, dating back to 1988, had given some type of early release or pardon to a total of 12 such prisoners, according to prison officials. All but two of them had been convicted of murder. One was serving time for forgery and another for armed robbery and aggravated assault.

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Dweisel
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January 09, 2012
Johnl, I agree completely with everything you said about how easy it is to make a living, yes even to prosper in this wonderful country of ours.

I am extremely dismayed at your lack of desire for culture, to better yourself in the most fundamental of ways, i.e., to speak and write at least one language with precision. Cf. 13 Analects 3, "rectification of the terms," where my notable ancestor Confucious describes the importance of these skills.

To tell the truth if your math skills are no better than your language skills I should not be surpised to learn your net worth is more like four thousand instead of 4 million.

As dumb as you are how could you tell the difference?
Johnl
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January 09, 2012
Dewisel, don't need all those big words in my world. I have no quarrel with you. I like most of your post. So you get no reply on this one.
Dweisel
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January 09, 2012
I apologise.
Dawg11
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January 09, 2012
@Johnl,

Did those Democrats over the years believe the same thing that Democrats today do? I think you know better...many Democrats in the Legislature have held very, very Conservative views and often voted with the Republicans. By reading your post, I think we should focus more on education, because you can't spell anything. The Republicans have got you hooked on this idea that everyone on welfare uses the money for drugs. Not even close to true. Welfare isn't even a state program. It's run by the federal government.
Johnl
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January 09, 2012
No apologies for my spelling, I am a ninth grade dropout. If I knew what I know today, I would have left in the seventh grade.

With a net worth of over four million, owning three company's, having many college grads working for me, I really don't think I need your advise.

Schools are a money pit that cant seem to be satisfied. If you can't spell, thank a teacher. All you need to know if you want to do to succeed Is do like I did. "find a need, and fill it.

Over half the people in this country has a family member on government assistance. The young people that come looking for work nowadays have no work ethic. People on disability work for cash on the side, many are overweight and smoke and drink. If you like that, thank a democrat.
Johnl
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January 09, 2012
The Democrats rats have been in charge for over one hundred years and you blame the Republicans, Is that not a little stupid? Time for a real change, lets see some drug testingon the non taxpaing welfare and dissability folks. At least random testing. Lets cut off some of this free money.

If you dont like the law, then lobby to change it, and quit complianing. Do somthing

JANGA
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January 09, 2012
This is not a Party affiliated issue. Governor's and President's alike in both party's use this power on the way out.

Agreed...it is an abuse of power and should not be allowed.
justamerican
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January 09, 2012
So the governor releases one convict and democrats try to crucify him. Yet you! let millions of babies be murdered and not one of those go to prison for a day. Where is Justice now?????

only_me
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January 09, 2012
How about we say the Governor should not pardon murderers AND we shouldn't let millions of babies be murdered.
DosChiChis
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January 09, 2012
No wonder there is no faith in government. The REPUBLICANS are the devil. You can kill your wife and go free, but you better not run from a highway patrol. What a screwed up system all these politicians have created. Now that Republicans control all of Mississippi you better get them prison beds ready and don't think you'll get any worker's rights.
Dawg11
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January 08, 2012
Where are all the comments? Are the law and order Republicans just going to let this one slide?