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. us1776

    The only thing that was rehabilitated was Haley Barbour's bank account.

    These pardons were to families and friends of GOP-contributors.

    And the GOP continues it's slide to the bottom.

    .

    January 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Do you have any evidence to support that scandalous accusation?

      January 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      and you have proof of that accusation?

      January 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scot

      SherwoodOr : Are you just approving anything a republican does or are you just trying to keep folks from thinking anything was wrong in what this governor did?
      As a law abiding citizen I was very concerned that murders that worked the govenors "farm" got any pardons. They should have been damn lucky that they were allowed out of their cage not released into society !

      January 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoop

      Proof is for Republicans. Wild speculation and made up facts are for Liberals.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Percy

      Absolute BS and total nonsense.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHirag

      Sherwood.... when someone in your family run into one of these guys that got pardoned you may think differently.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Mr. Scot askes, "Are you just approving anything a republican does or are you just trying to keep folks from thinking anything was wrong in what this governor did?"

      Neither. This matter is bigger than republicans vs. democrats and bigger than this one governor.

      Mr. us1776 has asserted that the governor took a payoff to his personal bank account for making these pardons. That is a very serious charge. It's the sort of worst-level corruptions that governors get sent to jail for. It's a serious charge. And that sort of charge should not be made without some evidence.

      It's ok to say, "I suspect that maybe the governor got a payoff for this." Then, you're just stating your own ideas and suspecions and opinions, nothing more. You're not stating any fact, and you made that clear. But it's another thing entirely when you just state something like that as fact.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      www nytimes com/2012/01/28/us/many-pardon-applicants-stressed-connection-to-mississippi-governor.html?pagewanted=all

      January 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • THX

      I agree. You can't rehabilitate callousness out of a person and you can't rehab kindness and conscience in. A guy who can shoot a fellow person in cold blood so he can have mad money to spend isn't someone to be trusted.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    They need to send Barbour to prison to join all his buddies.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Why? What did he do that was criminal? The governor is allowed to make pardons.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steven Turkel

    Haley Barbour has always struck me as the archetypical Southern politician and his recent questionable pardons have reinforced that image. A good ol boy who pardons those prisoners who smoke and joke with him while on their best behavior acting as servants in the Governor's mansion.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. getout

    can you imagine the uproar if any of the pardons were for blacks and then they tried to undo that. he was pardoned, it isnt his fault the gov was an idiot. the supreme court will have a field day with this

    January 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • KayCeeTee

      Some were Black.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoop

      Bazinga..

      January 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • runner15

      Two of the murderers he pardoned are black. Get your facts before you sling statements predicting a "uproar" with a racial undercurrent.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vp

    hmmm, let's see, who did this?

    Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee; the Law and Order Party.

    I'm assuming Mr. Barbour did this to pay back a political favor.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Oh well, he has the right to do it.
      Just like when Nixon was pardoned. UMAD?

      January 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. roksnbeast

    This is interesting. It is usually the democrats who are labeled "soft on crime."

    January 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. justme

    9/10 odds are good that if the law f'ed up that theres ganna be law suits on this crap!

    January 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    He shure picked a sh/thole to hide out in. Ever been to Laramie? Yeesh. He shouldda hid out on Grand Mesa in Colorado. The world's largest mesa is a good place to get lost and never found. Plenty of wild game...elk, deer, turkey, ...badger, but their too tuff to eat unless you are starved. It took my grandpa anout 45 min. to beat one to death with a baseball bat. The beast attacked our Scout, best sheepdog ever lived. PO'd grampa something fierce. Anyway, Visit Colorful Colorado and then go back home. 😉

    January 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      I am trying but I can't find anything in your post that makes the least bit of f...ing sense whatsoever.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      Adam, please let me know if you figure it out because I'm in the same situation.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Now that brings up an interesting question. They refer to it as "roast beast" on the show. But what was it called before the Whos roasted it? "Raw beast" or just plain "beast"?

      January 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone is mercilessly trolling Philip

      But I'll leave it to the reader to decide if this is Philip or a troll. I believe it is really Philip.

      January 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bspurloc

    U have to love how supposed law people LIE "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," ""That is when our officers asked for the assistance of the Laramie Police Department."
    If he did hit someone with the vehicle why was he not arrested? He was pardoned he is a free man, now u r breaking the law unlike him.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • SherwoodOR

      And the police MUST treat him as a free man. He is NOT a prison escapee to be re-captured. Mr. Ozment has done nothing wrong in this matter. He was pardoned by the then-governor. I'm sure that he was told in so many words, "You are free to go." And do he did. And there is nothing wrong with that. If a court now has a summons to serve him, then the authorities should do that in a civil, respectful, and unprovocative way.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Sherwood hits the nail on the head.

      Thats what all these crybaby media darlings and outcriers dont get. Pardon = Crime is erased, completely. He is as innocent now as if he was never convicted.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    Wow, he shot a man that was down already – complete coward.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. phyllis

    This was an act of a Bully Out of Control, meaning Haley Barbour...........He think he has all the power in the free world..........Just because he is a former state worker...........he did this too show, how arrogant he really is............
    To let everyone know, how powerful he thinks he is..............he is a big BULLY all ways has been, my way or the highway..........I feel sorry for his wife, Marsha.............I would have to jump the water on him...........and change my name, hair color, and take a Greyhound Bus out to town................I am so glad he is out of control of this State..........peace out...............

    January 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SherwoodOR

    Mr. Ozment was pardoned by the then-governor. I'm sure that he was told in so many words, "You are free to go." And do he did. And there's nothing wrong with what Mr. Ozment did.

    It is very wrong of CNN to have written this story to suggest otherwise.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. liz

    I don't like the idea of Gov. Barbour giving this man a pardon but I thought if you were served a warrant in one state, Wyoming, for another state,Mississippi, ( having no pending criminal charges) I don't think you have a legal obligation to return.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoop

      It wasnt even a warrant. It's a civil suit subpoena.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Marcco

    Haha my step dad is his attourney, his name is Tom Fleener.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PeterD

    Instead they need to arrest Barry to ruin this Country.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      President Obama is stuck with cleaning up the mess left by Bush when he dumped two wars (one that Bush optionally started) and a PLUMMETING stock market.

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

      Mr. Observer observes, "President Obama is stuck with cleaning up the mess left by Bush when he dumped two wars (one that Bush optionally started) and a PLUMMETING stock market."

      Nobody forced Mr. Obama to run or to accept the office. He knew what he was getting and he eagerly sought it and accepted it.

      He also promised to fix it and to fix it virtually instantly. Nobody forced him to make those promises.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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