Murderer seeks governor’s pardon

Published 12:44 am Sunday, February 17, 2008

Michael David Graham, convicted in 1989 of the shotgun murder of his ex-wife, has applied to Gov. Haley Barbour for a pardon.

Barbour’s spokesman, Pete Smith, said the governor has not acted on the pardon application.

Graham, a trusty at the governor’s mansion, has for 30 days published a notice of his intention to seek a pardon in The Mississippi Press newspaper, as required by state law.

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The next step, Smith said, is for the governor or his staff members to review the pardon application. He said he did not know when Barbour would act on the application.

Graham was convicted in the shotgun slaying of Adrienne Klasky, who had divorced Graham in 1986.

Klasky was shot on April 7, 1989, with a 12-gauge shotgun while driving in her car in downtown Pascagoula, according to published reports.

“He pulled up behind her and when she slowed down, he pulled into the oncoming lane and fired out the right side of his truck and into the driver’s side of her car,” then-Pascagoula Police Chief Bill Pope told The Mississippi Press in an article dated April 9, 1989. “The blast blew out the car window and hit her in the left temple, killing her instantly.”

Graham then drove to the nearby offices of attorney Don Sigalas, who represented him in divorce proceedings against Klasky. Sigalas persuaded Graham to turn himself in at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, where he was later taken into custody by Pascagoula police officers.

Klasky was killed the day after sheriff’s deputies received a writ of custody from chancery court to pick up her ex-husband.

Graham’s brothers had signed a lunacy petition on him as a threat to himself and others because they feared Graham would harm their parents.

Current District Attorney Tony Lawrence said it would be a bad decision for Graham to get out of prison by parole or pardon.

“It would be the wrong decision to send,” Lawrence said, saying that Graham’s violent murder of Klasky should leave him locked up for the rest of his life. “If he were to be released from murder and not serve a life sentence, (Klasky’s) family would be harmed all over again.”