Pardoned DUI convict faces new charges - - Jackson, MS

Pardoned DUI convict faces new charges

Most of the controversy over former Governor Haley Barbour's decision to grant nearly 200 pardons has been focused on four convicted murderers. But the families of those victims are not the only ones who feel violated.

There's a reason Harry Bostick looked familiar to Sgt. Hildon Sessums. This was the second time the Oxford, Mississippi police officer had arrested Bostick for driving drunk.

"There was an open bottle of wine in the front seat with him" said Sessums. "There was an open bottle of champagne in the front seat with him. He had a large cup that was full of red wine."

Police found he was driving at twice the legal limit of alcohol. This was Bostick's 3rd drunk driving arrest in a year.

Bostick pled guilty to the felony charge, was sentenced to a year of house arrest and to 4 years in an alcohol abuse program.

"Right before I put the cuffs on him he said, 'don't do this to me' and my comment to that usually is 'you did it to yourself'" said Sessums.

A year after that arrest Harry Bostick applied for a pardon from Governor Haley Barbour. This former IRS investigator had high profile friends write letters asking the governor to pardon Bostick.

Friends wrote that Bostick's life fell into a destructive course after the tragic death of his teenage son in a house fire and a divorce from his wife. A federal prosecutor wrote Harry no longer drinks alcohol and can now be a positive factor in many lives.

Another friend wrote, Bostick had turned his life around.

The Mississippi Parole Board, in a 3-to-2 vote, recommended Bostick get a pardon. Governor Barbour agreed.

"The power of pardon is to give people a second chance who have repented, been rehabilitated and redeemed themselves" said former Governor Haley Barbour.

But don't tell Linda Smith that Harry Bostick has been rehabilitated. Just 7 days after he was recommended for a pardon, Smith's 18-year-old daughter Charity was killed in a violent car crash. The driver of the car was Harry Bostick.

"She should still be here with me. She should still be here with me. This should not have happened" said Smith.

Charity was killed. Her sister survived. Bostick was sent to a jail in Oxford - for violating his previous dui sentence - while prosecutors tried to figure out what to charge him with.

Harry Bostick's attorney never returned our repeated calls. We tried to find Bostick at his home, he didn't answer. And when we called him, we got voicemail.

But while Bostick waited in jail, Haley Barbour pardoned him. Bostick was free.

How did that happen? It turns out the governor's office and parole board never did a last minute check of Bostick's record. Both say they had no idea Bostick had been arrested a 4th time for drunk driving.

A baffling stroke of luck for Harry Bostick. And Linda Smith worries her daughter has been forgotten in all of this.

"Surely they didn't know about her" said Smith. "Why would they do it if they knew about it. She was a person. She wasn't just a name on a piece of paper."

Charity Smith was saving money to go to college, dreaming of getting a business degree. A young girl with big dreams and an artist's heart.

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