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Friday July 31st, 2015 5:30PM

Sherry case conspirator to be released from Georgia prison

By The Associated Press
<p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>Federal officials have not said where Ransom will be released.</p><p>Ransom has been incarcerated at the Jesup, Ga., Federal Corrections Institution.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>Holcomb, former Biloxi Mayor Pete Halat, Nix and Sharpe were convicted in the second Sherry trial in 1997 for their roles in the murders.</p><p>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.</p><p>Nix was serving life without parole for murder when he became a client of Halat, who was Sherrys law partner.</p><p>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.</p><p>Nix and Ransom pulled off several crimes together, including participating in a shootout with Georgia police in 1970.</p><p>Their association didnt end there, however. Both were members of the Dixie Mafia.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p>
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