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. newt

    He was pardoned. Free to go where he likes. He should sue them for harassment.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polopoint

      Exactly.
      He's become a pawn in a political game by an ambitious attorney general.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Polopoint,

      Blame the Republican governor, not the attorney general unless you disagree with him about murderers wandering free.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • RayJacksonMS

      I hope he comes over to your house.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristal

      lol u moron think about what u just said u idiotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

      January 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Observer is the kind of person (like Obama, Newt, and the D.A.) that thinks rules and regulations are all fine and dandy as long as they always work in his favor. As soon as a rule works against him, it should just ignore it.

      What Ozment does or doesn't do NOW is completely irrelevant. Legally, he was pardoned. The only issue NOW is what the D.A. is doing: harassing a free citizen of the United States.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Bill,
      "Observer is the kind of person (like Obama, Newt, and the D.A.) that thinks rules and regulations are all fine and dandy as long as they always work in his favor. As soon as a rule works against him, it should just ignore it"

      You need to work on your reading comprehension skills. I NEVER said that so STOP MAKING UP LIES.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jes-sayin'

      Newt and Polopoint you both nailed it!

      January 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      No Observer, you need to work on your powers of deduction. You don't need to specifically state something to make your intentions clear. Your repeated comments deriding the Governor, while apparently supporting the actions of the D.A. make it quite clear that you think Barbour legally pardoning felons should lead to the D.A. harassing said felons is the normal course of action.

      Supporting evidence includes the apparent lack of indignation from you (and others) towards the other 199 pardons performed by Barbour or the 1000s of pardons performed by other Governors and Presidents in similar fashion.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Governor Haley Barbour wants convicted murderers to be totally free and able to buy guns anywhere.

      The attorney general disagrees.

      Yep. It's just politics. Sure.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Bill,

      I believe that laws should always be followed. I have never said or thought otherwise.

      Let me make this perfectly clear: YOU, sir, are a LIAR.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TJeff1776

    When a Governor signs a pardon- its over with. Never mind that the governor didn't wait for this or that. All formalities should have been met; BUT if not, then thats the Governor's fault – BUT "his fault" doesn't void Pardons. NOR does this free man have to honor a "summons to appear". His sins have been forgiven AND wiped out COMPLETELY. Moreover there is a BIG legal question as to the validity of a summons served out of State. A summons is not a warrant of arrest. Take note that this man was not arrested. Methinks the State of Mississippi is ALL messed up.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The state of Mississippi is all messed up and it all started with Republican "law and order" man Haley Barbour

      January 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FelipeBR

    Vote republican

    January 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. C. Menonmyface

    Hot fat nuts in your mouth til Tuesday night is a juicy delight

    January 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Clarice

    He should have gone to Miami.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Observer

    If you are for "the sanct-ty of marriage, family values, and the Moral Majority" see Newt Gingrich.
    If you are for "law and order", see Haley Barbour

    If you are for HYPOCRISY, see Republicans.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      LOL...you are correct!

      January 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. brown

    As disgusting at the Governor's pardon decision was, these former prisoners are smart to run ... as fast and as far away as they can!

    January 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Budget Analyst

      I agree somewhat, but why run? If I am pardoned, I am a free man. I am not running. Matter of fact, he should be in their face. Not sure what the courts will do at this point...but this guy is free...like it or not.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr. Sinister

    The United States is a democratic republic. It is a republic because it is a nation ruled by laws. It is a democracy because the People can change laws through their elected officials. But it is not a democracy in the truest sense: the People cannot simply change the rules on a whim, basing their decisions on knee-jerk reactions day by day. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten that in America. While I do not agree with the pardons, I do not agree with public or official harassment of those who were pardoned, or acquitted, or otherwise legally absolved of their crimes. People who seek private justice or who seek to change the rules on a whim are themselves criminals who deserve to be in jail.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The New Mexico Man

    Vote out Republicans.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bernie

    Someone get this man a firearm NOW!!!

    January 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      No problem. The NRA will support him because he's not a convicted felon.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TONY

    @chris what the hell! who is talking about police, and who has the guns, this about 4 murderers being pardoned by the grand wizard of the kkk who happens to be a governor, i have a question is schooling in Mississippi goes beyond 3rd grade how could you all elect a governor like him. you all in mississippi need to fight for more schooling.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry simpson

      you all is not proper english. Maybe you need to go back to school as well.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. larry simpson

    all he has to do is tell the police to kiss his ass. he is totally free now and no legislation can change that.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fredflintstone

    He was heading to Brokeback Mountain

    January 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    I don't necessarily agree with the pardon but you can't have a stable society when pardons are not necessarily final.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rockitman

    they are murderers they belong in prison. if they had killed one of your loved ones i think your comments might be a little different. so before you say that they should be free because some idiot pardens them think of the victoms

    January 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Keep it to legal precedent. We dont lynch mob in this country. Legal valid pardon, get over it.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I doubt it. I would be angry they were pardoned but I would recognize that the more serious danger is to undermining the nature of our society. Maybe I am unusual in the fact that I can separate the two.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
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