I’m continuing my review of Governor Barbour’s pardons. One I find nothing about is Larry Darnell Roby, who was convicted of murder and racketeering. There has to be a story there.
Here are others I have checked out:
Full and complete pardon
Victor Collins was convicted of murder. This is a Marshall County case in which Collins was convicted of brutally beating his girlfriend to death. Collins was sentenced to life in prison in 1996. There’s another appearance of Stephen Hayne, this time with a weird wrinkle. On direct exam, Hayne testified that the victim was killed by blunt trauma to the head. Defense counsel (I think wisely) declined cross-examination, and the prosecutor announced that he had more questions for Hayne. Defense counsel, of course, objected, and the trial court allowed further direct examination, saying that the prosecution could “recall” Hayne! Hayne then opined that the victim had been stomped by cowboy boots.
Reading this bit (and knowing the judge involved) I have almost no doubt that defense counsel declined to cross, knowing that Hayne would likely have something bad saved up for the occasion (that was one of his schticks). And when, oops!, the trap wasn’t sprung, the prosecutors were allowed another bite at the apple.
This did not awaken the slumber of our appeals courts.
But, laying aside my defense lawyers outrage at this particular raw deal, reading the opinion, it seems as if Collins was convicted for a terribly brutal crime on a thin but sufficient case; I can’t see what produced the pardon here.
Jimmy Lee Avera‘s case is another girlfriend slaying, in which Avera shot his girlfriend, Tabitha Sparks. He got a life sentence in 1998. Here are some facts from his appeals case.
¶4. On April 28, 1992, Sparks was working at the Majik Market, and Avera stopped by to talk with her. Sparks told him to leave and said that they would talk later. Avera left and drove around in his Camaro, and around 11:30 P.M., he stopped at Sparks’s trailer to finish their conversation. The conversation turned into an argument, and Avera testified that he went to his car and got a gun so that he could scare Sparks. The couple began to argue again this time waking Sparks’s son. Avera testified that he asked to hold the boy who had been like a son to him, and he laid down the gun in order to hold the child. When Avera laid down the gun, Sparks picked it up. Avera then began to wrestle her for the gun finally taking it from her. Sparks ran out the door, and Avera started chasing her.
¶5. Avera testified that at this point all he remembers is that he wanted to catch Sparks and that he was angry and furious at the situation. Avera’s testimony stated that he heard a ringing sound then blanked out, and when things cleared up, he saw Sparks lying on the ground. Various neighbors from the trailer park testified that they heard a commotion and saw Avera repeatedly firing at Sparks. The neighbors testified that Sparks was running away from Avera screaming for help and asking to be let in a trailer when Avera began shooting at her. After the shooting, Avera left in his Camaro, had a flat tire, abandoned the car, and then hitchhiked to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Medical /Conditional Suspension of sentence
Rheon McShepard is 80. He was convicted of murder in Harrison County in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison; he’s presently in a hospital. His case had a brief appearance in the Mississippi appeals court in a remand for a Batson hearing in 1988.
Cases I cannot find:
Booker T. Barnes murder
Anthony Sansing murder. Possibly this guy, on parole in Hinds County.
Vincent Bell murder, accessory after the fact.
Mark Hubbard Allen vehicular homicide
Randy Scott Fortenberry manslaughter
Gregg Patrick Gibbes Aggravated DUI Death- see update below
In my prior post, I mentioned a case I could not find. It involved Aaron Brown, who was pardoned for Murder, concealed weapon, possession of a controlled substance. There’s a 2000 Misssissippi Court of Appeals case from Hinds County (764 So.2d 463) that I’m not sure is the same one. Here’s the facts:
¶ 2. According to the State’s evidence, Kenneth Smith was shot to death in the course of an argument in the parking lot of the “Cool Breeze” pool hall. Terri Casnel, the victim’s girlfriend, testified at trial that she was a witness to the shooting and said she saw the defendant, Aaron Brown, draw a gun from under his coat and shoot Smith at least three times. (The record indicates that, in fact, Smith was shot four times with a nine millimeter pistol.)¶ 3. Brown, in his defense, called several witnesses. Rachel Kimbrough, a woman who had been working as a bartender at the Cool Breeze on the night of the shooting, testified that Casnel was inside the building talking to her when the shooting occurred. A police officer who investigated the shooting at the scene reported that Casnel had given a statement to him that she was inside the building when the shooting occurred. Another defense witness, Tracy Bingham, testified that, contrary to Casnel’s assertions, he was the sole witness to the shooting, which occurred when he and Smith were talking in the parking lot and they were approached by an unidentified gunman who shot Smith and fled the scene. Brown also called a friend who testified that Brown had picked him up after work and that they had gone to the friend’s home for the evening where they remained until after the shooting occurred.