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Posted: Saturday, November 1st 2003 at 3:20am

Sherry case conspirator to be released from Georgia prison

By The Associated Press

John Ransom, the man once thought to be triggerman in murders of a prominent Biloxi judge and his wife, is scheduled to be released from a Georgia federal prison within a week.

Ransom, 76, has spent the past 12 years in jail serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison for his role in the murder of Circuit Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife, Margaret, a former Biloxi councilwoman and mayoral candidate. Ransom also served two years in a state prison on an unrelated manslaughter charge.

Federal officials have not said where Ransom will be released.

Ransom has been incarcerated at the Jesup, Ga., Federal Corrections Institution.

Ransom, Kirksey McCord Nix Jr., his girlfriend, Sheri LaRa Sharpe, and Mike Gillich Jr. were convicted during the first Sherry trial in 1991 of conspiracy surrounding the Sept. 14, 1987, execution-style murders.

Authorities at first believed Ransom was hired by Nix, his longtime associate and a convicted killer, to murder Vincent Sherry. Years later, they learned that Thomas Leslie Holcomb of Texas was the triggerman.

Holcomb, former Biloxi Mayor Pete Halat, Nix and Sharpe were convicted in the second Sherry trial in 1997 for their roles in the murders.

Police concluded the Sherrys were killed because Nix, who ran a scam from his jail cell at Louisiana State Prison at Angola, believed Vincent Sherry stole money from him.

Nix was serving life without parole for murder when he became a client of Halat, who was Sherrys law partner.

Nix, who masterminded the conspiracy from prison, persuaded homosexuals to send him money because they thought he was a potential partner. He used Halats office as a legal cover and to deposit his money.

Nix and Ransom pulled off several crimes together, including participating in a shootout with Georgia police in 1970.

Their association didnt end there, however. Both were members of the Dixie Mafia.

Ransom, who has a partial wooden leg, is a career criminal, federal authorities have said. His career began in 1943 and included 20 arrests for various crimes by the late 1980s.

Two years after the Sherrys were killed, Ransom was charged with the shooting death of a Carroll County, Ga., man. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and was sentenced to 12 years in state prison. He was serving that sentence when he was convicted in 1991 in the Sherry case.

Associated Categories: State News

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