Statement of Governor Haley Barbour on Clemency Request of John B. Nixon, Sr:
On Saturday, I made the decision to deny the request for clemency made by and on behalf of John B. Nixon, Sr., who was convicted in 1986 in Rankin County Circuit Court of a heinous murder. I made this decision after a careful review of the records provided on his behalf.
I will not presume to substitute my judgment for the judgment of the Rankin County Circuit Court and the jury, which heard the evidence in the case, returned a guilty verdict and set the punishment; nor will I presume to substitute my judgment for the decisions of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the United States District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Those courts have reviewed the legal issues and determined that this defendant's legal rights were protected at every stage. His various appeals over all these years were repeatedly heard and consistently denied.
As governor I take the obligation of reviewing a request for clemency very seriously. And, upon review, I find nothing to convince me that clemency is justified in this case.
The real tragedy is that justice in this case has been delayed for more than 20 years. A delay of this length greatly reduces the deterrent effect of the death penalty.