January 30th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

Attorney general: Pardoned murderer found in Wyoming

[Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET] Joseph Ozment, a convicted murderer who was pardoned this month in a controversial move by outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, has been found in Wyoming, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced Monday.

Ozment was served at a hotel in Laramie, Wyoming, where he had been staying under another name, his office said.

"As our officers attempted service, Mr. Ozment fled in his girlfriend's vehicle but not before the vehicle made contact with one of our investigators," Hood said in a press release.  "That is when our officers asked for the assistance of the Laramie Police Department.  Mr. Ozment returned to the hotel on foot and ended up signing receipt of service in the presence of our two officers and two with the Laramie Police Department."

Ozment is one of four convicted murderers Barbour pardoned early this month. He did not appear at a court hearing in a case challenging the pardons. Hood said previously officials wanted to serve Ozment with a document telling him to appear in court.

Pardoned Mississippi murderer drops out of sight

According to a transcript of Ozment's confession to police, Ozment admitted being part of a robbery so he could have "Christmas money." He entered the convenience store with a friend who shot the clerk three times. The clerk, Rick Montgomery, crawled from around the counter and Ozment looked at him and shot him twice.

As he closed out his second term as governor, Barbour granted "full pardons" - meaning the convict's record is effectively wiped clean - to more than 200 people found guilty of a variety of crimes. All four of the convicted murderers he pardoned were serving life sentences and worked as trusties at the governor's mansion.

The move stirred outrage among relatives of the pardoned murderers' victims, among others. Hood has been particularly outspoken, earlier this month calling the pardons "a slap in the face to everyone in law enforcement and (saying) Gov. Barbour should be ashamed."

He also said Ozment and three other murderers did not meet the constitutional requirements to be granted a pardon, and he wants to see the men put back in jail to finish their life sentences.

Barbour has defended his pardons. He told CNN's John King that Ozment and the others have been rehabilitated.

"He has no obligation to do anything," Barbour said. "He's been pardoned. He's a free man."

So what will happen next?

"We said we would find him and we did," Hood said. "Now we will let the court decide what happens from here."

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • Mississippi
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. RAGE Against the Machine

    STOP THE PRESSES!!!!

    January 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. no one

    Heck of article. I mean the structure, content, way he reeled us in, its just mindblowing. Bravo.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. J.

    Uh, I think I missed something somewhere because that seems terribly incomplete to me.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fockyou

    Intro, body, conclusion are the basic requirements for just about any essay. This article has so few parts that it could have been tweeted, for God's sake.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Samlon

    He sure didn't bury the lead.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wut

    cool

    January 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    One time a very old nun with a very large carrot chased me till I could not run any more ,then a very large priest used ky and lubed the carrot and the nun poked me repeatedly till my ass was bleeding .I don't remember any thing,but when I woke up I was dressed like a nun,the priest was dressed like me,and the nun was putting on the priest out fit

    January 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Missed the bus

    I think we're missing a very important word

    January 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    I don't understand...if he's been pardoned, who cares where he is? Unless they found him on the moon, I hardly see how this warrants 'news' status. Heck, I'm embarrassed I event took the time to comment here!

    January 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Also embarrassed I can't spell "even" correctly.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      What is so hard to understand about the pardon's themselves NOT being legal?

      Would you be demanding this man's blood if he was mistakenly convicted of murder and the evidence showed he was innocent? Because that's EXACTLY what you are doing here.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      oh so the court that is looking into if they are legal or not somehow secretly told u they were not? otherwise he is a free man and they are breaking the law....

      January 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Smart Alex

    Why is this filed under Mississippi? I can think of other, more appropriate places.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rio67

    These guys were LEGALLY pardoned whether any of us like it or not. So now is the time to just layoff and let them go about their business... until next time.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Actually NO they were NOT legally pardoned....that is why this WHOLE THING IS AN ISSUE.

      You are an unintelligent person.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Really? I hadn't heard that the court ruled on that yet.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BOMBO ©

    They should have shot him while he fled. Problem solved.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Billy

    "Montgomery crawled from around the counter and Ozment looked at him and shot him twice."

    Hey...now that he's out someone should go find Ozment and give him the sentence he really deserved.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big_D

    The only person to blame is Haley Barbour. If this was a criminal act Haley Barbour should go to jail but this guy was pardoned and is free. Like it or not that is the law of the land and if you don't like it don't vote for Haley Barbour or the GOP.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polopoint

      Get over yourself. Barbour thought he was within the law. This was not a 'criminal act'. Don't get hysterical. What we have here, is failure to communicate, between attorney general and governor. Governor has pardon rights.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy ©

    Well, I for one, am not surprised...

    January 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      About what? Finding him in Wyoming?

      January 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      No, BOMBO©, that there would be such a huge outcry after Barbour pardoned four murderous men as a fina FY to Mississippi.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Oh.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
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