By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
A man pardoned by then-Gov. Haley Barbour is accused of shooting another man Thursday night in Calhoun County.
Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan reports that an argument at a cookout about 8:30 p.m. Thursday is believed to have led to Wayne Therman Harris of Slate Springs allegedly shooting Chris McGonagill of Calhoun City.
McGonagill died about 1 a.m. Friday at Baptist Hospital in Oxford.
Harris received a full pardon from Barbour on conviction for the sale of marijuana, according to Pollan and state documents.
Pollan said Harris served his sentence and was out of jail before the pardon.
Harris received a full and unconditional pardon from Barbour on Jan. 10, 2012. Pollan said — and state documents show — Harris had completed his sentence for sale of marijuana when the pardon was issued.
State prison system records show Harris was sentenced in Calhoun County on Jan. 19, 2001, for the sale of marijuana to 20 years in prison, with five years suspended conditioned upon his completion of three years post release supervision. He was given an official release on Dec. 21, 2007.
Convicted felons typically are not allowed to possess firearms, but Pollan said that does not apply in Harris’ case because of the full pardon he received from Barbour.
McGonagill’s shooting took place about 3 miles south of Calhoun City on Highway 9 south.
“Harris was hit once in the leg and McGonagill was hit six times,” Pollan told the Chickasaw Journal. “I can’t give you a lot of information about this incident because we are still investigating exactly what happened.”
Pollan said a .22 caliber rifle and a 9 mm pistol were used in the shooting. Pollan said the fatal incident occurred at a carpentry shop owned by McGonagill on Highway 9 south of Slate Springs.
Pollan said no charges had been filed as of noon Friday.
“We understand there were three other people at the scene at one time,” said Pollan. “We are not looking for anyone else and at this point we don’t think anyone else was involved.”
Pollan said he did not know what sparked the shooting.
“We are working on a motive,” said Pollan.
Barbour, a Republican, sparked an uproar when he pardoned nearly 200 people as his second term was ending in January 2012. The total included four convicted murderers and a robber who worked as inmate trusties at the Governor’s Mansion. Crime victims’ advocates and families across the state called for the pardons to be revoked.
Barbour has said he’s at peace with the pardons because his Christian faith teaches about redemption.
“I believe in second chances and I try hard to be forgiving,” Barbour said in an interview last year.
The Associated Press and Floyd Ingram with the Chickasaw Journal contributed to this report.