Pardons include 36 in region
by Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
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download Click here to download list of Barbour pardons.

Haley Barbour (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Laura Treppendahl was on her way back to the University of Mississippi campus from Bible study when she was killed in a crash by drunk driver Gregg Patrick Gibbes.

That was 10 years ago.

This week, Gibbes was one of more than 200 convicted felons pardoned by departing Gov. Haley Barbour.

In November 2003, he pleaded guilty to the crime of aggravated DUI-Death and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, nine years suspended, on condition he successfully complete three years supervised probation and payment of medical and funeral expenses not covered by insurance.

State authorities discharged him from that supervision in 2007.

Thirty-six on Barbour's list committed crimes in Northeast Mississippi. Some received full pardons and others got conditional clemency or medical suspensions of their sentences.

Until Tuesday, Harry Russ Bostick, 55, of Oxford was in the Lafayette County Detention Center on a suspended-sentence violation.

Bostick, a driver in a fatal Pontotoc accident in October 2011, was participating in an alternative sentence for a 2010 DUI-3rd Offense conviction when the accident occurred.

With the governor's pardon, the 2010 conviction was erased and so was his sentence violation.

But legal questions linger about whether the pardons were properly processed with mandatory public legal notices.

District Attorneys Trent Kelly of Saltillo and Ben Creekmore of New Albany said Thursday they weren't consulted about Barbour's choices.

Creekmore, a Democrat, said he was "shocked" by Barbour's decision on Gibbes, a case prosecuted by then-District Attorney Jim Hood, but one Creekmore said he can't forget because it affected so many people in the region.

Gibbes also was a student at Ole Miss, where parents and classmates reacted strongly to Treppendahl's death.

Kelly, a Republican who just took office, said, "I don't like it, period.

"A jury makes its decisions and they should be honored in most cases."

Five other pardons or clemencies involved deaths, from a Marshall County murder to negligent manslaughter in Oktibbeha County. In one case, Michael Clinton Armstrong was pardoned for the attempted enticement of a child for sex in Lee County. The rest mostly were drug convictions.

One exception was Steven A. Thompson, convicted of bribery in Benton County in 2003. Three years later, the Mississippi Legislature restored his voting rights, and Barbour signed the House bill.

Late Wednesday, Barbour issued a statement saying most of the pardons went to people already released or recommended by the state Parole Board. Attorney General Jim Hood has challenged Barbour's actions, and at Hood's request a Hinds County circuit judge on Wednesday night issued a temporary injunction blocking the immediate release of 21 of those affected.

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January 13, 2012
"A jury makes its decisions and they should be honored in most cases."

Wow, what a strong, committed, unyielding statement by the new republican DA.

By the way, how could this be known by a person who has never tried a jury case?
January 13, 2012
Getting to the bottom of this will require an extensive investigation of Republican campaign donors. And that will only be a start, because it's doubtful that any significant portion of the real money that changed hands was reported in any fashion.
January 13, 2012
Greg Gibbes had already done time on misdemeanor probation for DUI before he hit Treppendahl. Non-adjudicated of course.
January 13, 2012
And from those who know him and his family in Laurel this turd drinks and drives on a regular basis!
January 13, 2012
Alcorn Countians should be aware that Joel Vann, son of a former Republican public official in Corinth and strong political supporter of Barbour, was also pardoned for his drunk driving killing of a husband and father who was commuting to work. Things like this make it very difficult for prosecutors and judges to vigorously enforce drunk driving death laws and still show a measure of fairness and consistency when dealing with poorer defendants and those who are not as politically connected.
January 13, 2012
I just wonder what these people did for him to get this kind of reward. Im very surprised at the murder convictions.