Anita Lee reports that Pete Halat is in a half-way house in Hattiesburg, looking to a release in April of next year after serving 15 years:
Fresh from prison, former Biloxi Mayor Pete Halat is working as a handyman at St. Thomas Catholic Church on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
The Rev. Tommy Conway said Halat has been painting, doing yard work and performing any other chores requested.
“He’s doing very well,” Conway said. “He’s looking forward to getting home and being with his family some time in the new year.”
Halat served 15 years in prison for participating in a conspiracy that led to the murders of prominent Biloxians Vincent and Margaret Sherry in 1987.
Testimony and evidence later presented in federal court indicated an inmate at Louisiana State Prison ordered the murders after he discovered money missing from a trust account Halat managed while he was an attorney. Halat blamed his former law partner, Vincent Sherry, for taking the money. Sherry was serving as a circuit judge when a hitman gunned down him and his wife, former Councilwoman Margaret Sherry, in their North Biloxi home.
Margaret Sherry had run unsuccessfully for mayor in 1985. Halat won the election in 1989, then was identified a month after he took office as a suspect in the Sherry case. He spent his four years in office adamantly denying he had anything to do with the murders of his friends, whose eulogy he had delivered. Halat stood trial and was convicted in the Sherry case in 1997.