JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - They were given two life sentences for a robbery that netted eleven dollars. Gladys and Jamie Scott have always professed their innocence and it looks like they will be freed from prison. Governor Haley Barbour suspended the sentences Wednesday.
In 1993 Gladys and Jaime Scott were arrested and charged with leading two men into an ambush in Scott County. Court records show the men were robbed by three teenagers who hit them with a shotgun and took their wallets. The Scott Sisters were convicted in 1994. Since then groups like the NAACP have called for their release.
There have been numerous protests and marches like this one in September where hundreds of people gathered in Jackson demanding the women's freedom.
"Free the Scott Sisters now! Free the Scott Sisters now," shouted protesters.
In a news release Wednesday, Governor Haley Barbour said "Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys. He went on to say the Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi."
The governor also thanked activist Charles Evers and several state lawmakers for their leadership on the issue.
"Their mother lives in Florida and there has to be a compact signed between the state of Florida with Mississippi allowing them to come to Florida and be subject to their probation and they will be living there with their mother," said Senator John Horhn of Jackson.
"Do you see this as a political move on his part? Normally they try to shy away from that kind of situation. So you could say that was a bold step on the part of the Governor to do it if he has aspirations in running for President," State Senator Willie Simmons of District 13 said.
"I think this is closure not only for the Scott Sisters but the State of Mississippi. This is one big black eye that's been moved away from the State of Mississippi," said State Representative George Flaggs of Vicksburg.
The Governor also says the State Parole Board reviewed the Scotts' case at his request and agreed to the suspension of their sentences. The suspension can be reversed if conditions are not met which may include meeting with a parole officer.
Jamie Scott is now 38 years old and Gladys Scott is 36. They have served 16 years and would not have been eligible for parole until 2014. Officials say the process to release them could take 45 days.
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