Mississippi Gov. Barbour pardons convicted killers

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Get Out of Jail Free cards aren't just found in Monopoly. There seems to be quite a few at the Mississippi Governor's Mansion.

Get Out of Jail Free cards aren't just found in Monopoly. There seems to be quite a few at the Mississippi Governor's Mansion.

David Gatlin knows he killed his estranged wife in 1993.

But Gatlin and three other convicted killers also know outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour — they worked as trusties at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson — and they know they are now free men. They left state custody this past weekend.

Barbour, governor since 2004, granted pardons to at least four convicted killers during his last days in office, the Associated Press reports.

Barbour leaves office today. He’s not returning reporter’s phone calls.

The pardons have outraged family members of the victims.

Gatlin, 40, was sentenced to life in prison for killing Tammy Ellis Gatlin and shooting her friend Randy Walker.

Walker’s mother, Glenda Walker, told the AP Monday that Gatlin shot his estranged wife while she was holding their young baby, then shot her son in the head.

“He left that little baby on his dead mother’s body,” Glenda Walker said. “It was a horrendous murder.”

Randy Walker, who lives in Rankin County, said he voted for Barbour for governor in 2003 and 2007. Before Barbour’s pardon of Gatlin, Walker said he would’ve supported Barbour for president, if Barbour had run.

“I’m totally disgusted,” Walker said Monday. “I think Gov. Barbour at heart is a great man. I think he’s done a lot of good for the state of Mississippi, but I think he’s made a huge error here…. One man can’t put you in jail. I don’t think it’s right for one man to remove you from jail.”

The Mississippi Parole Board turned down Gatlin on Dec. 27, according to a letter dated Jan. 4 and obtained by AP. The letter did not explain why the Parole Board rejected Gatlin’s parole request. It said he was due for another parole hearing in October.

While Barbour’s office hasn’t responded to messages about the pardons, he told the AP in 2008 that releasing the trusties who live and work at the mansion is a tradition in Mississippi that goes back decades.

Pardons for convicted killers are not new. The AP reports Barbour created a similar stir by releasing convicted killer Michael Graham in 2008.  Graham shot his wife in the head while she was sitting at a red light.

Barbour’s three predecessors, dating back to 1988, gave some type of early release or pardon to a total of 12 Governor’s Mansion trusties. All but two of them had been convicted of murder. One was serving time for forgery and another for armed robbery and aggravated assault.

14 comments Add your comment

grady baby

January 10th, 2012
10:04 am

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! Georgia KILLS TROY DAVIS, and these guys get a get out of jail free pass!!!!!!!!!! This hipocrasy of it all is just LUDACRIS!!! This world is so screwed up, it is simply unbelievable!!


January 10th, 2012
10:09 am

This is why I like the ending in the movie “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg. In the end he handles the problem with the pompous politician and his yes men. A movie, I know, but just sayin…


January 10th, 2012
10:40 am

It seems if you’re going to murder someone, go do it in Mississippi. There’s a good chance you can live in the Governor’s mansion and get pardoned later. Sweet deal.

A.B. Normal

January 10th, 2012
10:58 am

@gradybaby, move to Mississippi. Problem solved.


January 10th, 2012
11:08 am

Absolute disgrace! But what is a trustie? Its spelled trustee.


January 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Please tell me grady baby didn’t spell “ludicrous” like the rapper “Ludacris.” Please tell me that…oh please. I left “hipocrisy” alone.

Crispy Critters

January 10th, 2012
11:11 am

I am thankful Troy Davis got what he deserved by taking a life.

Each person pardoned by Gov. Barbour deserves to be roasting with Troy Davis right now.



January 10th, 2012
12:11 pm

Why is the media so affraid to tell the truth. The govenor took money from people that could raise the amount he was offering for the pardons.


January 10th, 2012
12:33 pm

Just another blowhard, “tough”-on-crime GOPer. Now you see me, elect me, now you don’t! Can you imagine what it must feel like to be on the parole board? I know both parties participate in this practice of pardoning, but really, four murderers????

Boris Badnoff

January 10th, 2012
5:33 pm

If you kill someone who the gov pardoned, would it be considered community service? Hope Governor Moonbeam out in La La land doesn’t pardon Charlie Manson. Well so much for the stereotype that GOPers hate everyone.

Darvocet spending

January 10th, 2012
6:24 pm

WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN: where are you when we need you


January 10th, 2012
6:31 pm

Haley Barbour had higher aspirations at one time but apparently he’s decided to retire from politics, because after this he couldn’t get elected as dog catcher. He’ll probably resurface as a Fox News commentator.

Maura Desparrois

January 11th, 2012
7:28 pm

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Alfonzo Forschner

January 11th, 2012
10:17 pm

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