The convicted murderers who received pardons from outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour may have been the men to set authorities on high alert. But it's another pardoned man who has left destruction in his wake, authorities say.
A mother in Oxford, Mississippi, is mourning the death of her daughter after a drunk driving accident in October. Eighteen-year-old Charity Smith was killed in an accident involving Harry Bostick, a retired Internal Revenue Service investigator who had a history of DUI offenses, authorities say. Who was at fault for the collision has yet to be determined. Only a week before the crash, Bostick received a full pardon for a DUI offense.
"She was a person. She wasn't just some name on a piece of paper. A beautiful person," said Linda Smith, Charity’s mother.
Bostick has not been indicted by a grand jury in the October 7 crash that killed Smith, but because his third DUI was pardoned, a conviction in the latest DUI case would technically be his third offense.
Bostick was going through the drug court program when he started applying for a pardon last summer. On September 30, the Mississippi Parole Board recommended a full pardon of Bostick in a 3-2 vote.
“In reviewing Mr. Bostick's case, Gov. Barbour took the Parole Board's recommendation into consideration, and he wasn't aware of the subsequent charges," says Laura Hipp, a spokeswoman for Barbour.
A hearing will be held on February 9 to determine whether more than 200 of Barbour’s pardons will remain intact, including Bostick’s. Four of the men who received pardons were convicted murderers serving at the governor’s mansion in the Department of Corrections trusty program. All four men have been located and are required to report daily to prison officials. Current Gov. Phil Bryant has also banned trusties from working at the governor’s mansion in the future.
But these changes don’t soften the blow of losing a child for Linda Smith, who cries everyday since the death of her daughter.
"She should still be here with me. She should still be here with me,” Smith tells CNN Correspondent Ed Lavandera. “This should not have happened."