January 13, 2012 11:02:00 AM
By HOLBROOK MOHR
JACKSON-- Two sisters released from a Mississippi prison last year on condition that one donate a kidney to the other were saddened and disappointed they weren't among dozens receiving full pardons from the governor, one of the women said Thursday.
As one of his last acts as governor, Haley Barbour granted more than 200 reprieves, including to those convicted of murder. Most were full pardons, though some received suspended sentences.
Jamie and Gladys Scott had served nearly 16 years of their life sentences for armed robbery when they were released on Jan. 7, 2011. Barbour freed Jamie Scott because she suffers from kidney failure, but he agreed to let her Gladys go on the condition she follow through on her offer to donate a kidney to her sister within one year. Barbour noted at the time that Jamie Scott's dialysis was costing Mississippi about $200,000 a year.
Gladys Scott said Thursday that she "just started crying" when she found out they didn't get a full pardon. Scott said she is in nursing school, but won't be able to become a nurse unless her record is wiped clean.
"I have to report to the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the rest of my life for a crime I didn't commit. I guess if I had been a murderer, he would have pardoned me," she said.
The sisters claim to be innocent, and their lawyer said others involved in the crime have since recanted testimony that implicated them. One of the alleged victims told The Associated Press last year that the sisters planned the 1993 stick up in which he was lured down a dark road and robbed at gunpoint by three teenage boys. Civil rights advocates said the sisters' sentences were far too harsh.
Their lawyer Chokwe Lumumba said during a news conference Thursday that he'll ask new Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to pardon the women.
Bryant's spokesman Mick Bullock said in an email that, "Governor Bryant has no intentions to pardon anyone."
Barbour's representative did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
"It is very contradictory to me ... that you got people accused of killing people, burning their bodies and all that kind of stuff, killing pregnant people, who are walking free without any restrictions and the Scott sisters don't have that kind of freedom," Lumumba said Thursday.
Barbour has not explained publicly why he didn't pardon the sisters and has not told Lumumba, the attorney said.
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