THERE’S a book in it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find that some publisher has already set a release date to coincide with the anniversary of the central event: the armed robbery of two men during December 1993 in central Mississippi, US.
Two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, were subsequently charged and convicted of armed robbery and given two consecutive life sentences each. They had served 16 years when, last week, just a day before year-end, the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, decided they should be released.
His decision followed an intensifying campaign in which civil rights activists protested against the sisters’ jail terms. As I read the trial transcript and judgments I began to understand the protest, and wondered how on Earth the court had passed such a sentence on the two women, and why it was upheld on appeal.
According to the version of the prosecution, the two sisters, then aged 19 and 21, lured two men to a spot where the women had arranged for three teenage boys (one of them was 14) to rob them, using a shotgun to threaten their victims. The boys were subsequently caught and charged.