Report: Trusties received special treatment before pardon - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Report: Trusties received special treatment before pardon

Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour

(WMC-TV) - A CNN report says that two Mississippi inmates received special treatment before they were pardoned by former Governor Haley Barbour.

Just days before they were pardoned, convicted killers David Gatlin and Charles Hooker were issued new drivers licenses, even though they were still incarcerated as trusties working in the governor's mansion.

"It angers me," said Randy Walker.

Walker was shot in the head by Gatlin.  He said he is furious that the man who shot him would get so much preferential treatment.

"That's just mind blowing," he said.  "Where is enough is enough?  It should be enough that they gave a convicted killer his life back."

Barbour's security chief suggested the licenses would help the pardoned trusties find jobs.

CNN also obtained investigator's reports from the Mississippi Attorney General's Office which detail how Gatlin and Hooker also had cars ready for them the day they were pardoned.

According to the report, Barbour's wife, Marsha Barbour, called a salesman at a car dealership regarding the purchase of vehicles for Gatlin and Hooker.  The salesman allegedly told investigators that the inmates had been brought to the dealership on January 6 of this year in a black Ford Crown Victoria to complete paperwork for the sale.

Gatlin and Hooker's pardons were also signed on January 6.  Two days before they men were officially released, the salesman also stated that he delivered both vehicles to the governor's mansion.

Governor Barbour refused to comment directly, but his spokeswoman sent an e-mail saying that questions regarding the drivers license, the purchase of the cars, and the role of his wife were based on assumptions of fact and were not true.

Walker said it was just one more injustice.

"Where's my handout?" he asked.  "I mean, I had thousands upon thousands upon thousands of medical bills that nobody helped me pay.  Stuff that's a necessity.  I had to have this medical stuff done.  I'm not one to go through fits of anger, but ... my blood pressure is boiling."

Governor Barbour's chief security officer told CNN he personally drove both men from the governor's mansion to the drivers license office himself.  He said that he knew both men would be pardoned and he hoped having the licenses would help them find jobs.

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