Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps was recently arraigned in federal court on a 49-count federal indictment
Epps has abruptly resigned amid a federal investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office has moved to seize his $359,000 Flowood home, his beachfront condo in Pass Christian and two Mercedes Benz sedans.
Epps resigned his $132,700-a-year government job on November 4, with a brief letter to Gov. Phil Bryant.
Rankin County School Board President Cecil McCrory also abruptly resigned his school board post on Wednesday. McCrory is listed as an owner of companies that have done business with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Epps submitted a short resignation letter to Gov. Phil Bryant, saying, "I am retiring effective immediately today, Nov. 5, 2014," and thanking Bryant for "the opportunity to serve under your leadership."
For years Epps played a prominent role at each Mississippi execution. He would often give somewhat unusual, even bizarre, concluding remarks at every execution. Typically it would go like this:
“The State of Mississippi – Department of Corrections has carried out the mandated execution of death row inmate....". “Through the course of years, the death row inmate was afforded his day in court and in the finality, his conviction was upheld all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“I ask that you join me in prayer for the families of the victims. The entire MDOC family hopes you may now embark on the process of healing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you as you continue life’s journey."
Epps would often concluded his comments by commending the Deputy Commissioner of Institutions, the Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent, Mississippi State Penitentiary security staff and the entire staff of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for their professionalism during the execution.
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Michael Thomas Gargiulo, Pretrial Hearing 43
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