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House where the Sherry Murders took place to be demolished…

The Sun Herald has details

The final chapter in the 1987 Sherry murders is nearing completion when the couple’s home in North Biloxi is demolished in a few weeks.

Nobody’s lived in the brick rancher at 2430 Hickory Hills Circle since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Biloxi Council on Tuesday voted to let the Community Development Department advertise for bids to tear down the building and clean up the yard.

A neighbor across the street was also the FBI agent who began the investigation of the murders of Judge Sherry and his wife:

The Hignights were acquaintances, waving neighbors, with the Sherrys. They remember only one or two families renting the home since the murders and Hignight’s wife, Lou Ann, said they didn’t stay long.

She doesn’t have any tangible evidence but she said, “I think it’s haunted.”

Royce Hignight says he doesn’t believe in that stuff.

He was a special agent for the FBI and started the investigation into the Sherry murders on Sept. 16, 1987.

The horror of what happened that day is remembered throughout the city and the state, said Hignight.

Vincent Sherry was a judge with the Second Mississippi District Circuit Court and partner in a Biloxi law firm. Margaret Sherry was a former Biloxi Council member. There was no forcible entry into their home.

Hignight said the judge was in the den of his home when the gunman shot him three or four times in the face. His wife was in the back bedroom when the shooter aimed at her and missed a time or two.

“Evidently she fainted,” he said and the assassin put the gun to the back of her head and pulled the trigger several times.

Lou Ann Hignight said it was “spooky” how the neighbors went about their lives for three days while the couple was dead inside their home.

The person who found them was Vincent Sherry’s friend and business partner, Pete Halat of Biloxi.

The investigation into the murders took investigators in a lot of directions and eventually was tied to the Dixie Mafia and a lonely hearts scheme.

Prisoners placed ads in a national magazine for homosexuals and extorted money from the men who replied to the ads.

“It took a lot of years to unravel it,” said Hignight, and Keith Bell finished the investigation for the FBI.

“They were the hardest of the hard core criminals,” Hignight said. They implicated Halat, by then the mayor of Biloxi and the lawyer who oversaw a trust account.

The Dixie Mafia had discovered money was missing from the account, and Halat set up his friend and business partner, Sherry, who was killed along with his wife.

Halat remains in jail and the house where they were murdered is just a reminder of what happened there.

A special assessment will be attached to the property to cover the city’s cost and Creel said once the house is gone the land will be handled like a tax sale

“I hope this is the final ending to this saga,” Hignight said.

13 comments to House where the Sherry Murders took place to be demolished…

  • Tim

    This was another sad saga for the Mississippi Bar I’m afraid. Lawyers allegedly allowed prisoners to use their trust account to deposit funds, allegedly allows a girlfriend to use their office to pose as a paralegal to go in and out of prison to meet with the prisoners and then allegedly takes the funds deposited into their trust account. The end result one lawyer and his wife murdered and another sent to prison. Was it worth it? Absolutely Not!!!

  • NMC

    Tim, that’s the gist of the story.

    It’s an astounding one. Add in the detail that the money was being accumulated because murderer Kirksey Nix (the prisoner directing the gay lonely-hearts scams) apparently thought he might be able to bribe Gov. Edwin Edwards to be pardoned out of Angola. Or another detail: That Nix would probably be dead today but he was safely in Angola as one-by-one untimely deaths occurred for the folks who were apparently involved in the hired hit on Buford Puser in which Puser’s wife was killed but he was not. Buford was not the kind of guy one would want to almost kill.

  • Chico Harris

    “…Buford was not the kind of guy one would want to almost kill.”

    Jimmy Buffett has an interesting early 1970s story about getting drunk –in Atlanta, I think it was, maybe Nashville– and ending up making a scene up on the car hood belonging to the sheriff of McNairy County. Story is, Buffett escaped narrowly.

  • Mike

    One fact in the article that I do not recall hearing before, that the scam funds were in a trust account. I do not believe this is accurate. If memory serves (but often doesn’t), the funds, how much and who took them are still mysteries.

  • NMC

    Mike, I thought the version in the book Mississippi Mud was that Halat took them from the trust account, but implications arose in the trial that contradicted that.

  • Exterminator

    There’s a book out there somewhere on the old Dixie Mafia, of which Nix and others were “members”. They were still quite active when I began practice in the early 80′s. I knew an older lawyer that represented them; they also used Percy Stanfield from Jackson quite a bit.

  • Observer

    NOSTALGIA. Anyone miss the ‘good ole days’ before we all got so damn civilized? You know the days, back when, to gamble, you had to be given a nod to go through the black door in the back of the place. Back when, to drink, you had to pay the bootlegger and then stop on the roadside and retrieve your white lightning from behind a fence post. Back when it didn’t take so damn much money to buy public officials. Back when the Eagle could safely fly the weekend before elections in Marshall, Benton, and Tippah counties.

  • WaySouth

    “Back when, to drink, you had to pay the bootlegger and then stop on the roadside and retrieve your white lightning from behind a fence post.”

    Observer, you must be very, very old or grew up in the sticks!

    Down in Jackson when I was in high school during the 60′s, heck, we had drive-thru package stores. At least one in Hinds County I recall and a a few in Rankin county.

    We always crossed the Pearl River for a taste as it was closer to the downtown teen center.

    They sold top shelf liquor, bottled in bond you know, but we preferred the Gypsy Rose Wine and Orange Driver, more suitable for a high school junior’s budget. The cheap booze was soon replaced with $5 bags of weed but that’s another story.

    I’m much older now but am often awakened from a deep sleep while dreaming of the smell of a 16 year old angel from Wingfield HS, hot and sweating, mixed with the aroma of cheap wine and Jungle Gardenia perfume.

    God Bless Jackson, Mississippi and all those pretty gals.

    WS

  • WaySouth

    Sorry to double post but while researching Mississippi’s Black Market tax I stumbled across this article about our own Ed Perry and Judge Sweat, of Corinth. I had all but forgotten Judge Sweat and his famous “Whiskey Speech”.

    I of course have heard Ed recite the speech on many occassions but just thought some might enjoy the article.

    http://orig.clarionledger.com/news/0305/25/oorley.html

    WS

  • Ben

    Pipe down. Yall are gettin’ way outta line. And it was White Shoulders perfume.

  • Observer

    Soggy Sweat was a great guy, but if you research his “Whiskey Speech” he did not originate it. He took a speech that many others had given many other times in the past in different situations and made it about whiskey.

  • cindy

    I knew the Sherry’s years ago and you couldn’t have ask for nicer people as friends. I’m also reading Mississippi Mud, a well written story that is holding my interest and brings back fond memories of the Sherry’s, yet sad because they are gone. In my book Vince Sherry was one of the best attorney’s God placed on earth.

  • Elizabeth Sposito jarman

    Is the lot for sale?

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