Jamie and Gladys Scott arrived at the Mini Mart gas station on Highway 35 in Forest, Miss., sometime between 10:30 and 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1993. It was just after Johnny Ray Hayes and Mitchell Duckworth had stopped in to purchase beer and gas after getting off work at McCarty Farms. Hayes and Duckworth said later that they saw the Scott sisters arrive in a blue Oldsmobile.
At the Mini Mart, Gladys, then 19 and two years younger than her sister, approached the two men and asked for a ride to their parents' home in the rural area of Hillsboro, a few miles north of Forest. The sisters say they had run out of gas, some accounts claim.
The two men agreed to let Jamie and Gladys ride with them, and the group set off in Hayes' car. They stopped briefly at Oakdale Apartments near the McCarty Feed Mill, and headed north, taking a narrow country road.
At some point during the drive north, Duckworth later claimed, he noticed a blue Oldsmobile behind them and pointed it out to Hayes. What happened next is a matter of contention: Duckworth and Hayes say that the Scott sisters orchestrated a robbery on that back road and left in a car with their accomplices, three young men. Jamie maintains that Duckworth made unwanted sexual advances toward her. The sisters say that they left Hayes' car and walked the half-mile to their father's house.
The next day, deputies from the Scott County Sheriff's Department arrived at Jamie's house with a warrant for her and Gladys' arrest on robbery charges.
Ten months later, a Scott County jury found the sisters guilty of armed robbery and sentenced them each to double life sentences.
Their alleged co-conspirators, three then-teenagers known as "the Patrick boys," took plea bargains—confessing to robbing Duckworth and Hayes—and testified against the sisters in return for lesser sentences. The Patrick boys all served no more than three years in jail.
For 16 years, the sisters have professed their innocence.
The arrest was a terrifying prospect for the sisters, neither of whom had prior criminal records, according to family members. Jamie and Gladys were both young mothers. Gladys lived with her 6-year-old daughter, Olivia, in the Oakdale Apartments in Forest. Jamie and her three children—Jamicce, 6, Terrence, 3, and Richard, 1—lived in a trailer in Hillsboro.
The Scott sisters grew up in Hillsboro, a seven-mile drive from the comparatively big town of Forest. According to their mother Evelyn Rasco, now 64, they were "high-spirited girls," who loved to attend baseball games and fish fries in the country. When the sisters were younger, Rasco would occasionally take them fishing. Having grown up in Chicago, Rasco never grew tired of fishing, but her daughters preferred the social side and would complain about mosquitoes. On the first and third Sunday of every month, Jamie and Gladys sang with their mother in the Sylvester United Methodist Church choir.
Of the two, Jamie was the quieter one, a hard worker always willing to put in extra hours for additional pay. She had undergone a tubal ligation six weeks before her arrest and was due to return to her job at a nearby chicken-processing plant after Christmas. Gladys was more fun-loving, Rasco says.
"Gladys was more of the type to drive somebody's car—high-spirited and have a good time," Rasco said. "Anyone that would let her drive, she would drive."
Neither girl had finished high school, both having dropped out to make money and care for their children. Jamie worked on the production line at a nearby chicken-processing plant, while Gladys worked at Hardee's.
In a 2002 affidavit, Jamie Scott said that the encounter with Hayes and Duckworth actually took place a day earlier than was stated in the sisters' indictment and trial. On Dec. 23, she had run out of gas for the heater in her trailer. After taking her children to her parents' house, Jamie and Gladys went to the Mini Mart to buy some items for the children. There, Jamie's car failed to start, and Gladys approached Hayes and Duckworth to ask for a ride back to Hillsboro. The two men helped push Jamie's car a short distance to the Oakdale Apartments, and the group set off for Hillsboro in Hayes' car.
In her affidavit, Jamie claimed that Duckworth began touching her as they rode in the backseat. Still nauseous from her surgery, she asked him to stop and then told Gladys to pull over. They stopped near The Cow Pasture, a nightclub, where the sisters asked another group of men for a ride but were told they would have to wait. Jamie and Gladys set off again with Hayes and Duckworth. When Duckworth repeated his advances, Jamie began screaming and asked Gladys to stop. As the sisters walked home, they saw another car approach Hayes' vehicle, Jamie claimed.
Robbers' Plea Bargain
The Scott sisters hired two attorneys, Firnist Alexander Jr. and Gail Shaw-Pierson, to represent them in Scott County Circuit Court. On Oct. 3, 1994, they appeared before longtime Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon, known for presiding over the 2006 trial and conviction of former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen in Neshoba County.
The trial transcript offers only a piecemeal glimpse of the alleged crime. The sisters did not testify in their own defense, and Alexander and Pierson did not offer a complete, competing version of the night of the robbery.
Both Duckworth and Hayes testified for the prosecution, saying that they had seen Jamie and Gladys arrive at the Mini Mart in the same blue Oldsmobile that later followed them and carried their assailants. The two men, who are cousins, also testified that they saw the Scott sisters leave the robbery scene in the Oldsmobile. Neither man saw the sisters hold a weapon during the robbery.
In Duckworth's and Hayes' version of the incident, the group stopped at The Cow Pasture, a club in Hillsboro, after Jamie and Gladys asked to go to the bathroom. Outside the club, the two women approached the occupants of the blue Oldsmobile.
Returning to the car, Gladys asked to drive, and Hayes consented. When Jamie began to complain of feeling sick, Hayes asked Gladys to pull onto the shoulder, where the blue Oldsmobile stopped behind them. The sisters got out, and then, according to court testimony, a man pointed a shotgun through the passenger's-side window and ordered Hayes and Duckworth out of the car and onto the ground.
Hayes and Duckworth testified later that their wallets were stolen, along with anywhere from $11 to $200.
After taking statements from Hayes and Duckworth, Scott County sheriff's deputy Marvin Williams returned to the scene and found Hayes' wallet, with cards but no cash.
On cross-examination by Alexander, though, both men admitted to having purchased beer at the Mini Mart. Duckworth, who had three previous DUI arrests on his record, claimed that neither opened their beers or began drinking until after they reached Hillsboro, when Gladys started driving. Hayes acknowledged that he opened a 24-ounce Budweiser and drank about half of it.
The linchpin in the prosecution's case was testimony by Howard and Gregory Patrick. Howard, then 14, took the stand first. He told Turner that he had arrived at the Mini Mart with his brother, Chris, his cousin, Gregory, and the Scott sisters, who were friends of theirs. He testified that Gladys conceived of the robbery and told the Patrick boys to follow Hayes' car until Jamie feigned sickness.
The sisters gave him and his cousins instructions three times, Howard said. At the Mini Mart, Jamie and Gladys asked the Patrick boys to follow Hayes' car. At the Oakdale Apartments, they said the same thing. At The Cow Pasture, they gave the full plan, Howard said.
Both Howard and Gregory testified as part of plea bargains.
In return for testifying against the Scott sisters, the Scott County DA's office allowed them to plead guilty to strong-armed robbery for sentences of eight years. In trial testimony, Howard said that he had no lawyer present when he signed the statement handed him by the Sheriff's Department. They were not his words; in fact, he hadn't even read it. Marvin Williams and another deputy, Jerry McNeece, had told him that he would be released the next morning if he cooperated, he said.
"(T)hey said if I didn't participate with them, they would send me to Parchman and make me out to be a female," Howard told Alexander on cross-examination.
Alexander asked him if he meant that the sheriff's deputies had implied that he would be raped at Parchman. "Yes, sir," Howard said.
Despite signing the statement Dec. 30, 1993, Howard remained in jail for 10 months until the Scott sisters' trial.
Masterminding a Hold-Up?
Gregory Patrick also testified that the sisters had planned the robbery. He claimed that Chris handed Gladys the shotgun while he searched Hayes' car.
Gregory's testimony introduced another wrinkle in the prosecution's story, however. When Gladys stopped Johnny Ray Hayes' car outside Hillsboro, the Patrick boys could see some kind of activity in the backseat, where Jamie and Mitchell Duckworth were sitting.
"Jamie and the guy in the back was like fighting, or whatever, struggling," Gregory said during direct examination from Turner. "We didn't know what was going on, and they stopped the car."
Gregory said that he and his cousins got out of the car to talk to Hayes and Duckworth about the commotion.
In his closing argument, Alexander honed in on Gregory's description and suggested that Duckworth was getting "friendlier in the backseat than Jamie Scott wanted him to." Alexander also noted a number of discrepancies between the statements that prosecution witnesses gave the sheriff's department and their testimony at trial.
Hayes did not tell the sheriff's department that he saw the sisters arrive at the Mini Mart in a blue Oldsmobile, Alexander pointed out. Nor did his statement mention that he saw Gladys and Jamie get back in the car with his assailants.
Moreover, Alexander argued, why did Duckworth and Hayes not ask the sisters about the blue car following them, if it was the same one they arrived in?
The jury, composed of seven white and five black members, returned a verdict shortly thereafter, finding Jamie and Gladys guilty of two counts of armed robbery each. State law allows juries to find a life sentence for armed robbery, and the Scott sisters' jury did so.
They sent the young women to prison for the rest of their lives. Gladys, pregnant at the time, would give birth to her second child shackled to a hospital bed. Jamie and Gladys are now in their 16th year of incarceration in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.
Prosecutors never provided an exact amount of money that the robbery allegedly netted. Even testimony by the alleged victims leaves the matter vague. Hayes testified that he had cashed two paychecks and was carrying "about two hundred something dollars" in his wallet. Duckworth told the court that he "didn't have much money in (his) wallet. Really, nothing, probably."
Howard Patrick testified that his portion of the robbery's take was between $9 and $11.
The Sisters' Version
The sisters appealed their convictions. Alexander began work on the appeal, but in February 1996, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law for six months for providing inadequate representation. A tribunal of the Mississippi Bar later extended that suspension to two years, and Alexander was subsequently permanently disbarred. Alexander referred the sisters to Jackson attorney (and current Jackson City Councilman) Chokwe Lumumba.
Coincidentally, Lumumba would later have his own run-in with the sisters' trial judge, Marcus Gordon. A 2001 spat with the judge in Gordon's Leake County courtroom nearly led to Lumumba being disbarred.
When he took over the Scott sisters' appeal in 1996, Lumumba was limited to arguing that there had been legal errors in Jamie and Gladys' original trial. The Court of Appeals denied their appeal Dec. 17, 1996. In 1998, Lumumba contacted Chris Patrick, the only one of the Patrick boys to not testify during the Scott's trial. In a signed affidavit, Chris maintained that the two young women had nothing to do with the robbery; they did not profit from it, nor were they even aware of the plans, he said.
"Prior to the trial of Gladys and Jamie Scott, Deputy Marvin Williams of the Scott County Sheriff (sic) Department told me and my brother Howard in my presence that we would serve life sentences in Parchman Prison if we did not agree to testify against Gladys and Jamie Scott, and if we did not agree to testify that both women took part in planning for and setting up the robbery of Duckworth and Hayes," Chris Patrick stated in the affidavit.
With that new evidence, Lumumba filed a petition for post-conviction relief with the state Supreme Court. He also drew on two other affidavits from Lisa Lofton and Willie Shepard. Both affidavits, taken in the summer of 1996, cast doubt on the Scotts' guilt. Lofton, who was in the Scott County jail in 1994 along with the Patricks, said that she often spoke to Howard Patrick through his cell window while outdoors on a smoke break. Howard told her that there had been no robbery and that nobody knew what happened to Hayes' wallet.
"Howard said he was sure that they didn't have anything to do with it. Howard said he felt bad about Jamie and Gladys receiving two life sentences because they really didn't have anything to do with what happened," Lofton said in her affidavit.
Willie Shepard was a prison trusty at the Scott County jail in 1994. A few days after the Christmas Eve incident, two sheriff's deputies took Shepard and other trusties to The Cow Pasture to search for evidence. Another trusty, Melvin Gilbert, found a wallet containing $60 and some cards belonging to Mitchell Duckworth, Shepard said.
"(Deputy) Marvin (Murls) said, looking directly at me, ‘If this gets back to Hillsboro ... you are going to ride Buddy's truck.' This meant he was going to send me to Parchman," Shepard said.
Despite the new evidence, this second petition was unsuccessful, too. The Scott sisters had exhausted their options in court.
Lumumba then turned to then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. In 2000, he sent a petition for pardon to Musgrove's office. The petition included the new evidence in the Chris Patrick, Lofton and Shepard affidavits, along with the sisters' earlier challenges to evidence in their original trial. The request also including a new line of argument: Why should the sisters serve double life sentences when their alleged co-conspirators, the Patricks, served only two to three years of their eight-year sentences?
"(T)he question becomes whether these two women should have been sentenced to such harsh punishments for crimes that they clearly did not commit," Lumumba wrote.
Musgrove denied the pardon request.
A Mother's Determination
The denied pardon request was a setback, but only a brief one for the Scott sisters' mother, Evelyn Rasco.
Rasco did not attend the trial; she stayed at home in Hillsboro with her children while her husband, James "Hawk" Rasco, dealt with the sisters' attorneys.
In 2000, after the pardon request failed, she left Hillsboro, in part to separate from James Rasco, who died in 2003.
"I just wanted to leave," Rasco said. "I was having a lot of personal problems. I didn't feel safe there, and I wasn't accomplishing anything there, as far as helping Jamie and Gladys in the state of Mississippi. I felt (that) if I went a little further, I could get help for them."
Rasco moved to Pensacola, Fla., where her son Willie, who has served in the Army for 29 years, lived. There, she has raised
Jamie and Gladys' five children, along with four grandchildren.
For 16 years, Rasco has conducted a largely solo campaign to free her daughters. Immediately after their conviction, she began writing letters to every law school and activist organization she could find, pleading her daughters' case. She focused much of her attention on Operation PUSH, which she knew about because of founder Rev. Jesse Jackson's civil-rights activism.
For 11 years, her letters to Jackson went unanswered. In 2005, she switched tactics, and addressed her pleas to Jackson's son, Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson III. The congressman's office transferred one of Rasco's letters to Operation PUSH, where a staffer named Nancy Lockhart intercepted it.
Lockhart, who was studying for a master's degree in jurisprudence at Loyola University at the time, decided to write back.
"Her letter, compared to the others I received, just felt sincere," Lockhart said.
Lockhart acquired a copy of the trial transcript, which she felt confirmed Rasco's story. "This is something that I believed in," Lockhart said. "The transcripts rather slap you in the face."
More than any one other person, Lockhart is responsible for bringing light to Jamie and Gladys' plight, Rasco says. With her legal training, Lockhart could communicate the details of the Scott sisters' case. While determined and poised, Rasco has only an eighth-grade education and knows very little about computers.
Lockhart notified Operation PUSH officials about the Scott sisters' case, but Rasco's letter "fell through the cracks," she said. She wrote more letters—to newspapers and radio stations, to the Innocence Project, to a former judge who expressed interest but then fell terminally ill—but they went largely unanswered.
"Initially I felt, ‘Oh, a couple letters to the major papers, an attorney, and they'll be out shortly,'" Lockhart said. "No, it didn't work that way at all."
‘Sisters I Never Had'
Around the end of 2006, Lockhart and Rasco changed their strategy. Jamie had always insisted that publicity and public outcry were essential to getting the sisters' release. Because mainstream media had ignored her letters, Lockhart took the case to the Internet.
She started a page on the (then-free) social-networking site ning.com, which allows users to establish networks around specific shared interests. Lockhart estimates that she joined nearly 200 different ning networks. She also pitched users on
blogtalkradio.com, a free platform for hosting podcasts and talk-radio style call-in shows.
Guest posts on Web magazines like BlackCommentator.com followed. From individual bloggers, the sisters' story spread to more established alternative media: black newspapers like The Jackson Advocate and the San Francisco Bay View; Rip Daniels, a radio host whose shows broadcast in Jackson, on the Gulf Coast and in Birmingham, Ala.; and the Nation of Islam's newspaper, The Final Call.
More recently, even bigger media personalities have publicized the case: James Ridgeway, a blogger for Mother Jones magazine; the Huffington Post; and recently, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, who blasted Gov. Haley Barbour for being willing to pardon a string of woman-killers (as the Jackson Free Press first investigated and reported in 2008) but not the Scott Sisters. The prosecutor in the sisters' case, Ken Turner, has since been quoted in USA Today and other papers as saying that while he believes the sisters are guilty, he feels that some relief for their situation is "appropriate."
On a "Free the Scott Sisters" blog, set up in January 2009 by another activist, Rasco posted calls for letter-writing campaigns and updates on her daughters' case.
"People started e-mailing me from Maine, from Greece, from Africa, from the United Kingdom," Rasco said. "Their story has been over in the United Kingdom for years."
Rasco suspects that the Internet campaign has been so successful because it reached beyond Scott County and Mississippi.
"What people who don't know about Scott County is (that) you have to do whatever those officials want you to do," she said. "If you don't, then you're in trouble."
Now, Rasco's call for her daughters' release is buoyed by the voices of African American bloggers, Mississippi politicians and advocacy organizations like the NAACP and ACLU. On Sept. 15, hundreds of supporters marched down Farish Street to a rally at the state Capitol. Chanting "Haley Barbour, can't you see? / Scott Sisters must be free," protesters cheered speeches by state senators, Jackson city council members and civil-rights activists. The Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance and Mississippi Workers Alliance for Human Rights pledged their support for the sisters' cause.
"Me and Nancy, we kept building the network up bigger and bigger," Rasco said.
The woman Rasco calls "my angel" has never actually met the Scott Sisters or their mother. Lockhart works in contract compliance and splits her time between South Carolina and New York. She dreams of saving enough money to visit Jamie and Gladys, whom she calls "the sisters I've never had."
Running Out of Time
The length of the sisters' incarceration has changed, or expanded, the nature of the injustice Rasco and Lockhart have been protesting. Perversely, the longer Jamie and Gladys Scott have been in prison, the more outrageous their sentence seems. The question of whether the sisters were wrongfully convicted in the first place has become somewhat secondary: Regardless of their guilt or innocence, the sisters are long past due for their freedom, supporters now argue.
At the Sept. 15 rally, the focus of most speakers and attendees was on the length of the sisters' sentence, not on their guilt or innocence. "All we're saying is (to) follow the spirit of the law," Jackson Municipal Judge Ali ShamsidDeen told the crowd. "Even if they were guilty, where is common sense and decency?"
As her daughter's incarceration has stretched on, Rasco has found herself advocating for more than freedom. Prison medical care in the state system has become, at times, the chief focus of Rasco's organizing, more so than even the sisters' release. Gladys, who was pregnant when she entered prison in 1994, gave birth to her second daughter, Courtney Scott, on April 20. She gave birth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center; as is customary, prison staff rushed her there once she went into labor.
Gladys had only two days with her newborn daughter. She remained in shackles throughout, chained to the bed even during labor.
"She was chained to the bed just like an animal," Rasco said. "She was treated like a cold-blooded murderer when she never even touched anyone."
Prison staff then instructed Gladys that she needed to sign over custody of Courtney to her mother or her newborn daughter would revert to state custody. The inability to bond with her daughter hurt Gladys deeply, Rasco says, making her "bitter" and "depressed."
Lockhart's efforts took on new urgency when Jamie was diagnosed with kidney failure. Jamie had been suffering from undiagnosed diabetes, and her condition worsened dramatically in prison.
On Monday, Jan. 18, 2010, Gladys called her mother to inform her that both of Jamie's kidneys had shut down and that she was in the prison's intensive care unit. A post on the "Free the Scott Sisters" blog followed almost immediately, asking the sisters' supporters to call, fax and e-mail prison superintendent Margaret Bingham, state prison commissioner Chris Epps and other administrators.
That Friday, MDOC moved Jamie to the Central Mississippi Medical Center in Raymond, where doctors inserted a shunt into her arm so that she could begin dialysis. Hours after Gladys called her mother with the news, another blog post went up:
"The outpouring of love that was showered on Jamie and Mrs. Rasco from around the world was truly incredible, fantastic and wonderful; thank you doesn't begin to express the gratitude that this family feels for what you've accomplished. Mrs. Rasco wants everyone who called, faxed or e-mailed to know that it was due to your ceaseless efforts that this happened, and she is very, very grateful to each and everyone(sic) of you that participated in this call to action!"
Jamie returned to prison soon after the operation. She receives dialysis about three times a week, but the machines are frequently broken, according to Rasco and the "Free the Scott Sisters" blog. Since being diagnosed with kidney failure, Jamie has suffered periodic medical crises—fits of vomiting and infections. Each time, a call from the prison prompted an urgent call for action on blogs and, often, some additional degree of medical care.
Perversely, Jamie's medical problems brought a dramatic increase in attention to the sisters' imprisonment, which has in turn given them their best chance of some relief since their first request for clemency and post-conviction petitions.
The Way Out
Chokwe Lumumba, now a Ward 2 councilman in Jackson, largely ended his involvement with the Scott sisters' case after the unsuccessful 2000 petition for a pardon or commutation of their sentences. When supporters called him after Jamie's January hospitalization, though, he returned.
Lumumba first filed a request for a medical release for Jamie, which MDOC denied after some delay. He then submitted a separate request for the prison to allow a private doctor to see Jamie. MDOC has yet to respond to the request.
If necessary, the sisters' supporters are prepared to file a civil suit against MDOC demanding medical relief for Jamie, Lumumba said. Before taking their efforts to the courts once again, though, Lumumba and other supporters resolved to seek a governor's pardon once again.
"We decided that one of the things that we should try—before we increase the level of hostility—is to try to do the governor's petition again, since this governor had nothing to do with the denial of the last petition," Lumumba said.
To add weight behind the petition, Lumumba and others planned the Sept. 15 rally at the state Capitol. Lumumba delivered the petition to Barbour's office Sept. 14, then met with the governor's staff the day of the rally. This time, the petition seems to have gotten some traction.
Days after the rally, on Sept. 20, an investigator from the state Parole Board visited Jamie and Gladys in jail. Because Parole Board investigations are not associated with the court system, they do not need to involve prisoners' attorneys. Lumumba believes that the governor is seeking a recommendation from the Parole Board on a possible pardon, though he can't be certain.
"They (the governor's office) haven't specifically told us that, but that's what we think," he said.
Although they're grateful for his recent work, Lumumba's 10-year absence from the case is a sore point with Rasco and Lockhart. Lumumba says that he had run out of legal remedies by 2000. Publicity efforts for the sisters' have only increased since then, he says.
"Unfortunately, the impact of them getting those double life sentences was not as great then as it is now, for (publicity) purposes," Lumumba said.
"We did do a little, but certainly not as much as folks have done since then to call attention to it. People don't understand what that means until you start serving all that time. I think it had more of an impact at this time, that they'd been in there for 16 years. People saw that the time was serious, the situation was serious."
If the pending clemency petition fails, Lumumba sees few options for getting the sisters released before 2014, when they are first eligible for parole. (Even that parole date is tenuous: prisoners rarely receive parole on their first opportunity.)
The sisters could file another petition for post-conviction relief, but only if their lawyers can produce new evidence.
"We will need to find those other two men (Howard and Gregory Patrick) and produce from them signed affidavits," Lumumba said. "That would be newly discovered evidence."
A post-conviction petition could also challenge the legality or constitutionality of their sentences. The problem with that tactic, Lumumba says, is that state law specifically provides for a life sentence in robberies that involve a firearm.
Even a constitutional challenge could be tricky. Few supreme court rulings at the state or federal level have found a prison sentence that is statutorily acceptable to be unconstitutional. Lumumba said it could be possible to challenge the sisters' sentences on the grounds that they are cruel and unusual—as compared to those for their alleged co-conspirators, the Patrick boys.
Regardless of the tactics, Evelyn Rasco will keep advocating for her daughters.
"One thing Scott County did not know: When they took my daughters' lives, they committed me to fight ‘til the day I die or until they are released," Rasco said.
"By Scott County doing what they did to my daughters, they gave me the energy to fight."
Action alerts still appear regularly on the "Free the Scott Sisters" blog, urging people to contact the prison when Jamie's health deteriorates. An Oct. 25 post warns that Jamie continues to suffer headaches, though a 5-day stretch of vomiting earlier in the month has stopped.
Jamie's condition and her need for the kidney transplant that Gladys has offered casts a pall over their future.
"If she should die, it's going to cost (the state) thousands of dollars to defend it, and if they lose, it could cost them a million dollars," Lumumba said.
"Her medical condition has been a roller coaster, and if it hadn't been for my supporters, she'd be dead by now," Rasco said.
For the moment, though, Jamie and Gladys' hundreds of supporters are holding their collective breath, as the sisters' best shot at freedom in years sits on Haley Barbour's desk.
[Editorial] Free the Scott Sisters
excellently written and a tragic story. mississippi justice at its worst.
Good article, Ward and I agree with byewren that it is "excellently written". What a story. WHAT A TRAGIC STORY!!! We have spent all of this money for 16 years, half-ass taking care of two women who could have been educated, working professionally and enjoying a family relationship. This is an unbelieable story. This is INSANE!
Since these two women never really harmed anyone and are not murderers- they are not eligible for a pardon from Gov. Barbour.
Very well written and researched story.
This case doesn't reflect well on the plea bargain process, as far as imparting justice is concerned. It seems, both the defendants making plea and the prosecutors had vested interest in the plea deal: the defendants in getting shorter sentence, and the prosecutors in getting successful prosecution.