The Scott Sisters




I am writing to you in hopes that you will review this egregious wrongful conviction.  In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, to consecutive double life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit.  The Scott sisters did not have prior criminal records, and from the beginning, they have vigorously maintained their innocence.  Their convictions rest entirely on a combination of contradictory, coerced, and potentially perjured testimony by the victims and two other people charged with the crime who were offered lighter sentences for their cooperation.

I have transcribed and attached below as Appendix 1 the most troubling evidence of coercion.  It is testimony from one of the other people charged with the crime, a 14-year-old boy who said that he signed a statement he neither wrote nor read that implicated the Scott sisters because the police told him if he did, he could go home the next morning, but if he did not, he would be sent to prison where he would be raped.

The Facts

The facts below were culled from the transcripts.

In the initial complaint filed shortly after the robbery, the victims never mentioned the Scott sisters’ involvement in the crime.  Almost one year later, the victims changed their account of the crime and stated that the Scott sisters participated in it.  (32-34; 60-63)

Three other people were convicted of the robbery, two of whom, cousins Howard Patrick (who was 14 years old) and Gregory Patrick (who was 18 years old), were given lighter sentences of eight years each for testifying about the Scott sisters’ involvement.   Howard Patrick testified that he spent 10 months in jail charged with the robbery before he signed a statement that implicated the Scott sisters.  On cross-examination, Howard admitted he didn’t know what he was signing.  He further said that he neither wrote, nor read the statement, but signed it because he was told by the police that if he did sign it, he would be released from jail the next morning, but if he did not, he would be sent to prison where he would be raped. (91-94—see Appendix 1 for an excerpt of Howard’s Patrick testimony where he describes the police threatening him with prison rape.) Howard Patrick also testified that this alleged robbery netted about ($9-$11) nine, ten or eleven dollars individually. (92) Similarly, Gregory Patrick testified that his statement that implicated the sisters included pages that were not written by him.  These pages included critical descriptions of the Scott sisters’ involvement. (113-115)

 

Using this dubious testimony, the prosecution constructed the following version of the crime.  On the night of the robbery, the prosecution argued that the Scott sisters persuaded Johnny Ray Hayes and Mitchell Duckworth to give them a ride home.  On the way to their home, the sisters convinced the victims to stop the car so they could use the restroom.  There, the prosecution argued that the Scott sisters met with Chris Patrick, Howard Patrick, and Gregory Patrick, devised, and then executed the following plan.

The sisters got back into the victim’s car, and the Patrick’s followed behind them in another car.  After driving a few miles, one of the Scotts acted as if she was going to be sick, forcing the victims to pull the car over to the side of the rode.  The Scotts then got out of the car, whereupon their alleged partners pulled up next to them, got out of their car, and used a shotgun to rob Hayes and Duckworth of about $200.  The group then drove off together, leaving the victims on the side of the road.

The Scott’s trial lasted two days.  The jury deliberated a little over 30 minutes before delivering a unanimous guilty verdict of armed robbery that carried consecutive double life sentences for each sister. 

Post Conviction

After their conviction, the sisters appealed their verdict, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict them, and that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of evidence.   The Mississippi Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the convictions.  Subsequent appeals have been filed with Mississippi’s Supreme Court including an Application For Leave TO File Post Conviction Motion as three affidavits in support of the sisters were not available during the trial but, all appeals have been denied.   

Why were the Scott Sisters charged with armed robbery?

It is difficult to reconcile the trial transcripts with the Scott sisters’ conviction without assuming that there is some kind of corruption behind this ordeal.   Through research and investigations I have heard the following account from several people involved with the case.  Scott County likely charged the Scott sisters with armed robbery because a family member turned state’s evidence against Sheriff Glenn Warren which resulted in his incarceration.  Scott County is a dry county, and allegedly this sheriff was running a bootlegging operation that also may have involved the judge who presided over the Scott’s trial.  Deputy sheriff Marvin Williams, who is also deceased, worked under Sheriff Glenn Warren and allegedly promised to pay their family back for the relative’s  testimony. 

The Scott County sheriff department also apparently tried to pin a restaurant robbery on the Scott sisters while they were awaiting trial, but the restaurant owners refused to cooperate. 

Sincerely,

Nancy Lockhart, M.J.

8/05/09



From Wikipedia - Scott Sisters


Jamie and Gladys Scott, often referred to as the Scott sisters, were convicted of orchestrating a 1993 armed robbery in Forest, Mississippi. Both sisters received double life sentences, an outcome that was criticized as too severe by a number of civil rights activists and prominent commentators on the grounds that the sisters had no previous criminal record and the robbery netted no more than eleven dollars. Their conviction was upheld by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied both their petition for appeal in 1997 and an appeal to vacate the conviction in 1998. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour denied a petition for clemency in 2006.
On December 29, 2010, Governor Barbour suspended their sentence on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to her ailing sister. The two women were released from prison on January 7, 2011, and will remain on parole and pay the state of Florida $52 a month for the rest of their lives.



Jamie and Gladys Scott - Coercion of Witnesses to Ensure a Conviction


Coming out of prison


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