DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - He's a convicted killer pardoned by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. He could be sent back to prison, but right now he's not even coming back to Mississippi.
Next week the state Supreme Court will decide if the pardons are legal. That includes Joseph Ozment, a convicted killer from DeSoto County. Right now Ozment seems to be refusing to come to court.
Ozment was found in Wyoming this week, and served with papers to appear in a Mississippi court for this hearing.
"My understanding is Ozment is going to fight even coming back to Jackson for hearings," said Mark McAbee, whose uncle was murdered by Ozment.
McAbee said his family will be in court when the pardons are re-evaluated next week, and Ozment had better be there too.
"I can't understand how if you're given a summons to appear somewhere, making that decision not having to come," McAbee said.
But that's exactly what Ozment seems to be doing. His lawyer said he'll defend the pardoned killer if Ozment stays in Wyoming.
The 40-year-old is not a fugitive and no warrant has been issued for his arrest. But he would violate a court summons if he stays in Wyoming.
"If you're changed or reformed you'd think you'd want to comply with what you're being faced with now," argued McAbee.
"He's proven he can't live in our society by his crime. He's proven he shouldn't by his crime," said John Champion, DeSoto County's District Attorney.
Champion believes Ozment's only proving he never should have been freed, and he's causing more pain for McAbee's family.
"Whatever healing has taken place over the last 18 years has been torn open again," Champion said.
"It's definitely relived," said McAbee, "You know, we're reliving the whole thing over again."
Mississippi's Attorney General said he'll seek a contempt of court order if Ozment misses the hearing. He hasn't said if that would be enforceable in Wyoming.
If the pardons are voided next week, Ozment will be sent back to prison.