When former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour released his pardon list before leaving office, two sisters released from a Mississippi prison last year on condition that one donate a kidney to the other, weren’t included. Now, the pair is pushing for answers.
After serving nearly 16 years of their life sentences, Jamie and Gladys Scott, also known as the Scott sisters, were released on January 7, 2011, from a Mississippi penitentiary. Because Jamie Scott suffers from kidney failure and her dialysis was costing the state about $200,000 a year, Barbour agreed to let her go under the condition that Gladys follow through on her offer to donate a kidney to her sister within one year.
On Thursday, when the pair found out they weren’t among the more than 200 reprieves, including those convicted of murder and receiving full pardons from the governor, they were devastated. Their lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba, said during a news conference that he'll ask new Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to pardon the women, both of whom are having trouble securing jobs due to the felony convictions on their record.
The sisters claim to be innocent on charges of a 1993 armed robbery. Additionally, when they were convicted, civil rights leaders fought against a punishment they thought was severely harsh. Despite the sisters’ claims and the fact that others involved in the crime have since recanted their testimony against the two, the Scott sisters are still on parole and must report to a parole officer once a month.
"I have to report to the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the rest of my life for a crime I didn't commit. I guess if I had been a murderer, he would have pardoned me," Gladys told the Associated Press.
According to ABC News, Barbour's representative did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Bryant's spokesman Mick Bullock responded to an e-mail stating, "Governor Bryant has no intentions to pardon anyone."
Stay tuned to BET.com for any updates on the sisters’ story.
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(Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo)