JACKSON — A Mississippi lawmaker is asking the attorney general’s office to investigate the recent prison escape of a convicted murderer, saying there was a two-hour delay in notifying the public that put people in harm’s way.
Republican Sen. Dennis DeBar of Leakesville said the escape of Michael F. Wilson was “very traumatic” for people who live near South Mississippi Correctional Institution.
Wilson, also known as “Pretty Boy Floyd,” escaped July 5 from the prison in Greene County. He was captured July 7 in Ocean Springs, about 70 miles south of the prison. Electronic billboards around the state flashed Floyd’s picture and warned he could be dangerous.
“There was an approximate two hour delay in notification to the local community, which resulted in the citizens in my area being places in harm’s way,” wrote DeBar, who is an attorney.
Russell Turner, publisher of the weekly Greene County Herald newspaper, told The Associated Press last week that he gave Floyd a ride to a hospital after finding the “winded and flustered” stranger sitting outside his home about 1.5 miles from the prison. Turner said the public had not yet been notified about the escape, and he did not know Floyd was an inmate.
In a letter he sent Friday to Attorney General Jim Hood, DeBar said others also gave Floyd car rides, not knowing he was an escaped inmate.
“I am sure you can agree that the citizens that came into direct contact have ample reason to be outraged at the lack of communication to the public,” DeBar wrote.
The senator said he thinks the Mississippi Department of Corrections “may not conduct a fair and impartial review” and may not release findings to the public.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday, and a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said Hood generally does not comment about potential investigations.
Wilson, 47, is now in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, in the northern part of the state. He was sentenced to two life sentences in September 2015 after being convicted of murder for killing two people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2014.
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