January 7th, 2011
09:07 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Jailed Sisters Freed for Kidney Donation

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/12/30/mississippi.sisters.prison.release/story.kidney.mississippi.mdoc.jpg caption="Gladys and Jamie Scott were released from a Mississippi prison Friday." width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360°, you'll hear from the two sisters who spent 16 years behind bars in Mississippi for an armed robbery that netted as little as $11. They were released today with the unusual stipulation that one must donate a kidney to the other.

Gladys Scott, 36, and Jamie Scott, 38, were serving a life sentence for leading two men into an ambush in Scott County in 1993, where the men were robbed by three teenagers who took their wallets.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, in Jackson, Mississippi, the sisters were convicted of armed robbery the next year, while the three accomplices received lesser sentences and were released from jail years ago. The Scott sisters have denied any role in the crime. However, their convictions were upheld in 1996 by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

The sisters were freed today because Gov. Haley Barbour suspended their sentences, saying that one must donate a kidney to the other. He cited the expensive cost of dialysis for Jamie. According to a corrections official that price tag is $190,000 a year.

The Scott sisters attorney said they still want a pardon from the state.

"We're not going to lay down the guns. We are going to keep fighting in order to get them totally exonerated," said Chokwe Lumumba.

Although, the main focus right now is getting Jamie a new kidney.

Lumumba said she’s in "bad shape" and needs a transplant right away.

However, tests need to be done to see if Gladys' kidney is a compatible match for Jamie.

"I want to give my sister... a chance to walk out that prison door and I want to give her a chance now because the fight is not over. We have to fight for this pardon and I want her healthy," said Gladys Scott at today's news conference when they were released from prison.

Soledad O'Brien talked with both women just a couple of hours ago. Don't miss that interview tonight on the program. We'll also dig into the ethical questions about the governor's deal. There are laws in place to prevent coercion and rewards for organ donations.

Also tonight, the mail scare at a D.C. postal facility. A package sent to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited this afternoon. No one was hurt. Police said it was "similar in nature" to devices that ignited Thursday at two Maryland state offices.

Who is behind these packages? We'll have the latest on the investigation.

And our cold case series continues with a look at the JonBenet Ramsey murder. The six-year-old girl’s death on Christmas night in 1996 created a media firestorm. A lot of people pointed fingers at her parents. We'll have the latest on the case.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sunni

    There are a lot of mixed feelings about these females here is Mississippi. People tend to think that they should stay others say good riddance. Personally, it doesn't matter one way or the other. If you commit a crime you should be punished fairly. Not by the color of your skin. I hope these females can make it and prove many Mississippians and other's who feel like all Convicted Felons are low down dirty dogs not worthy of life, wrong. That they can live law abiding lives to the best of their abilities. Good luck and bless you

    January 8, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  2. Tyler

    The sisters claim they were not involved.
    Okay, I wasn't there. I don't know for sure if these women were involved. I DO know that they were convicted of armed robbery. More importantly, they were convicted of leading a person into an ambush in a dark ally.

    My gripe is: Eleven dollars. It is reported over and over again that all these women stole was ELEVEN DOLLARS. I don't really see how $11.00 matters in the slightest. Yhey led an unsuspecting sap into a dark ally where he was ambushed for whatever money he had in his pockets. Would their crime be greater or less if they obtained more eleven dollars... Less than eleven dollars...? Should stupidity play a roll, as in really bad thieves? Does the eleven dollars really play a roll in the penalty they should pay? Or should the focus be on the ambush of the poor sap that hoped for a sexual favor?

    January 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  3. Yalonda

    This is injustice at its worst. There are rapists, murderers and repeat offenders who have committed heinous crimes 100 times worst than anything that theses women did and they are not facing life in prison. "Yes, I believe that if you do the crime; you do the time." However, there is no way that they deserved life in prison. The level of their sentences is criminal! This is a prime example of racism at its worst in the U.S. criminal justice system.

    January 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  4. thechicagoan

    I heard a lot of bad things about the state of Mississippi from my elders and more from those younger. Setting them free is the exact opposite of all I've been told about the prison system there. Good luck, ladies. God bless.

    January 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Janice

    Our govonor is a low dow dirty dog. He should have been put out of office a very long time ago. He's not there from any vote of mine's. What would he have done if medical reasons was not involved in these sisters release. He the sorriest person that I know. He would rather run these sisters out of town and shift the expense to someone else than step up to the plate and pardon the sisters. I forgot I live in a state that truly represent "White America" and racism. No wonder our state ranks last in everything but obesity.


    January 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  6. Julie

    Kidney for release??? Bad medecine grave injustice and just plain wrong!!

    January 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    A life sentence for $11?? And the other people involved in the holdup got a few years and have been out for years? Where is the fairness in that? Even if they were involved they got an excessive sentence. I hope the kidney transplant works out ok – if the sister's kidney isn't compatible do they still get released from jail??

    January 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  8. teresa, oh

    who is paying for the surgery?

    also, shouldnt the GALS have been tested for compatibility BEFORE they left the prison? something doesnt seem right here, besides the fact the gals were probably in prison too long.

    Ironic, aint it: they were sentenced to SPEND the rest of their lives in prison, and yet the govt. is letting them out in order to SAVE the life of one of them. Our justice system sucks.

    January 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm |