DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Mississippi's Attorney General is asking the State Supreme Court to reconsider the decision to uphold former Governor Haley Barbour's controversial pardons. They include four convicted murderers, one of whom is Joseph Ozment from DeSoto County.
Attorney General Jim Hood is using a new argument, and victims' families hope it carries more weight. Last time the state argued the pardons weren't valid because inmates didn't publish enough notices in local newspapers.
This time, the Attorney General is arguing the victims' families weren't given enough notice. In fact, they weren't given any. He says that's illegal.
"They should have given us the time to speak our mind and at least try to change his mind. They didn't allow us anything," says Mary McAbee.
McAbee didn't find out Ozment, her brother's killer, was being pardoned until it was too late and Ozment was free.
"We should have had the right to say something, spoke to them. They denied us that," she tells abc24.com.
"From very beginning we were limited," says her husband Gerald McAbee.
The McAbees thought the battle was over when the state Supreme Court declared the pardons valid earlier this month.
"That was really a let down. We thought that was the end of it. That was all we were going to get," Mary McAbee says.
But now they have renewed hope with the Attorney General's new claim.
"I'm hoping the wording he's put in there might change their mind to at least hear it again," Mary McAbee says. "I don't want to give up. I want to keep on going whatever it takes because our rights have been violated. No matter how you look at it. They have been violated."
The State and the McAbees are waiting for a response from the court. The justices could turn down the motion.
Out of the nine Supreme Court justices, six support the pardons, three are against them.
If they do allow another hearing, two justices will have to change their mind to have a majority vote against the pardons.