Sisters leave jail on condition of kidney transplant

Fri Jan 7, 2011 8:42pm EST
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By Leigh Coleman

PEARL, Mississippi (Reuters) - Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday freed two sisters from life sentences in jail for an $11 armed robbery on condition that one donate a kidney to the other.

The sisters, Gladys and Jamie Scott, smiled and waved as they emerged from Central Mississippi Correctional Facility after 16 years in prison, a Reuters witness said.

"It's been a long, hard road but we made it. There were times when we wanted to give up but I told my sister ... 'we're going to make it, we're coming up out of here, we're not going to die (in jail),'" Gladys Scott later told a news conference.

Barbour, who is considering whether to run for president in 2012, suspended their sentences on condition that Gladys Scott, 36, donate a kidney to her sister, Jamie, 38, in an operation that should be performed urgently.

Gladys said she was a willing donor for Jamie, who requires dialysis, and said she hoped and prayed she was a good medical match.

The sisters were convicted of robbing at gunpoint two men driving them to a nightclub in Forest, in northern Mississippi, in 1993. They had no prior criminal record. Each was sentenced to two life terms.

On Friday, both protested their innocence and said they would work to support other women in the prison who had no voice or outside support. Crowds came from as far afield as Canada to witness their release.

"We are not bitter. We never would have made it through 16 years behind bars if we were full of hate," Gladys Scott said in Jackson, the state capital.   Continued...

<p>Gladys Scott, one of the two sisters freed from Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, is seen in this handout photo taken December 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mississippi Department of Corrections/Handout</p>