Gov. Haley Barbour’s inconsistency over convicted murderers is still reverberating, raising questions about the role of governors in granting clemency.
Last week could be considered a bizarre sort of Tale of Two Cities. One convicted murderer, Michael David Graham, serving as a trusty in the Governor’s Mansion, got a suspension of his sentence by Barbour, while down in death row at the State Penitentiary at Parchman, another convicted murderer, Dale Leo Bishop, was refused a stay by Barbour and was killed by lethal injection.
Making the tale of two murderers even more strange, Bishop was convicted in part based on the testimony of a cohort who actually dealt the fatal blows, but got life in prison rather than a death sentence. So, although Bishop participated in the act that resulted in murder, he did not himself kill the victim. But the person Barbour granted leniency did actually stalk and kill his victim, his ex-wife, Adrienne Klasky.
One kills, gets life; another didn’t kill, gets death; another who stalked and killed in cold-blooded murder gets leniency after serving as a trusty at the Mansion.