I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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While on the subject of Mississippi true crime stories involving hit men…

Mike Gillich has died. Here’s the story in the Sun Herald.

Gillich operated strip joints on the Gulf Coast, and was deeply connected to the Dixie Mafia. He was convicted in the effort to hire a hit on circuit judge Vincent Sherry, and later became a government witness in convicted Biloxi mayor Pete Halat of being involved in the effort to hire a hit on Halat’s own law partner.

The story, an amazing one, is partly told in the book Mississippi Mud, worth checking out (iI say “partly told” because the book was written after the conviction in the first wave of trials that convicted Gillich and people centrally involved in the plot, but before convicting Halat. It’s still an amazing true-crime book).

The central figure in the plot, Kirsey Nix, was a prisoner at Angola (the Louisiana state penitentiary), who was planning to get out by bribing Edwin Edwards to obtain a pardon. He was accumulating the bribery money by running a “lonely hearts” scam in gay-oriented magazines, in which his co-conspirators would write letters posing as possible romantic interests and tease, wheedle, and blackmail money out of correspondents (without ever showing up in person). The scam was being run by a “paralegal” in Halat and Sherry’s law firm. At some point after Sherry became a judge, Nix asked Halat about the money–which should have been in the six figures at that point–and, apparently, Halat said Sherry had taken it. Nix decided to hire a hit on Judge Sherry.

This whole story– about Nix in particular– is an astonishing one. According to Mississippi Mud, Nix was the only Dixie Mafia member involved in the hit on Buford Pusser who did not die an untimely death (Pusser survived the attempted hit. His wife did not).

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