This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Biloxi, Miss. • The Sun Herald newspaper has learned that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour helped in the early release of convicted killer Joseph Goff, whose release Friday after serving eight years of a 20-year sentence has drawn outrage from law enforcement and the community.
Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp says he had nothing to do with most of the time taken off Goff's sentence more than eight years. "The governor did not pardon or release him from prison," Hipp said in an email.
But 130 days of the time off Goff received was granted by Barbour for work Goff did cleaning up after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to Mississippi officials.
"This is just unbelievable to give a murderer 130 days off because he cleaned up after a storm, which is what an inmate should be doing anyway," said state Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula.
Goff shot to death Kyle Todd, 19, while Todd was standing by a Christmas tree inside his family's Gautier Miss., home on Dec. 8, 2001. Todd died in his mother's arms. He was a former valedictorian at Gautier High School.
Barbour signed an order in July 2008 allowing the release of Michael David Graham, who had stalked his ex-wife, Adrienne Klasky, before shooting her to death in 1989 while she idled at a traffic light in Pascagoula in 1989. Graham had done work at the governor's mansion prior to his release. The governor suspended his sentence.