Pardoned man may not have met notice requirement - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pardoned man may not have met notice requirement

Missississippi Gov. Haley Barbour Missississippi Gov. Haley Barbour

By HOLBROOK MOHR
Associated Press

(AP) - At least 1 of the convicted murderers recently released from prison after a pardon from former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour may not have met his legal requirement to publish a notice that he was seeking a reprieve.

Jack Ryan, editor of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, said Mississippi Department of Corrections officials sent a legal notice for Anthony McCray to run in the newspaper beginning Dec. 12, but it never appeared because payment was never received.

McCray was 1 of 5 inmates who worked as trusties at the Governor's Mansion and were released Sunday after Barbour pardoned them. Barbour pardoned or granted early release to about 200 people in his final days in office, though most had already served their sentences.

McCray was convicted in 2001 of killing his wife, Jennifer Bonds McCray, 38, at Ramsey's Cafe in McComb. The couple apparently had been arguing before the shooting. He left the cafe and returned with a gun. Jennifer McCray was shot once in the back.

Joann Martin, a probation officer from Fort Worth, Texas, told The Associated Press earlier this week that McCray killed her sister, and his release has devastated her family.

"When he killed her, she had a 3-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son, who have been raised by my other sister," Martin said. "It's a shame before God. It's almost like you kill somebody and nobody cares." Department of Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary has said department records showed the ad was to run from Dec. 12 to Jan. 10.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's office had no comment.

The other four Governor's Mansion trusties already released are David Gatlin, convicted of killing his estranged wife in 1993; Joseph Ozment, convicted in 1994 of killing a man during a robbery; Charles Hooker, sentenced to life in 1992 for murder; and Nathan Kern, sentenced to life in 1982 for burglary after at least two prior convictions.

Singletary said MDOC records showed that:

Gatlin published legal notice his Dec. 15 to Jan. 5 in the Rankin Record.

Hooker published his Dec. 14 to Jan. 4 in the Clarksdale Press Register.

Kern published his Dec. 14 to Jan. 4 in the Clarksdale Press Register

Ozment published his Dec. 13 to Jan. 5 in the DeSoto Times Tribune.

However, MDOC records also had indicated that McCray has satisfied his notification requirement.

Singletary said many inmates who are publishing legal notices about their intention to seek a pardon use nearly identical language.

Hooker's legal notice said: "I, Charles Hooker, have submitted a petition for pardon to the Governor of the State of Mississippi. Reasons why a pardon should be granted include my prison record, work history, and evidence of rehabilitation."

Late Wednesday, Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green temporarily blocked the release of 21 inmates who'd been given pardons or medical release by Barbour.

Green issued the injunction based on request from Hood, the lone Democrat in statewide office, who said he believes Barbour might have violated the state constitution by pardoning some inmates who might've failed to give sufficient public notice that they were seeking to have their records cleared.

Associated Press Writer Emily Wagster Pettus contributed to this report.

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