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Pardoned Murderer Joseph Ozment Found in Wyoming

By Daniel Cherry | Published 30 Jan 2012 08:33pm | comments

Authorities have found Joseph Ozment, the only remaining pardoned inmate who had not been accounted for. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how he and nine others who received pardons will learn their fate later this week in court.

A Wyoming citizen tipped off investigators to the whereabouts of Joseph Ozment. Authorities found him at a hotel in Laramie, Wyoming under an assumed name. Ozment left Mississippi and didn't report to a required court hearing last week. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says investigators gave Ozment his orders to report back to Mississippi.

"We were fortunate to serve this process on him. He did call in this morning, as directed, so hopefully he won't run, but we are going to try to keep surveillance on these folks because they're due in court Friday here in Mississippi."

Ozment is one of ten who will hear if their pardons are valid on Friday. Attorney General Jim Hood has challenged whether all the pardons have met the 30 day notification period required by the state Constitution. Sylvia Owen represents Kirby Tate who was recently pardoned from his 60 year sentence for a marijuana arrest. She suspects the move to block the pardons is all political.

"I don't know what the beef is, really, but the Governor granted this person a pardon and he was certainly entitled to one. And there should be public outcry to uphold it."

On Friday, Judge Tomie Green will hear from defendants and decide whether they're free to go. Jim Hood says if Green rules against the pardons, he expects the case to go to the Supreme Court.

"They're going to try to get it up there and slow everything down, but really it's a simple issue. We just want Judge Green to read it and make a finding. Let's get all these people in that have failed to properly publish. If they've got something that they published in 1976 or something like that, it'll be up to the court to decide whether it's valid."

Hood says he believes 170 of the former Governor's 200 pardons did not meet notification rules.

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