JACKSON, MS (CNN) -- A man who was serving a life sentence for killing his wife is now free. That's because outgoing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour decided to pardon the man. And the move has the victim's family outraged.
On July 2, 1993 David Glenn Gatlin walked into a trailer where his estranged wife lived and shot her in the head. Her friend, Randy Walker, survived a gunshot to the head. Both crimes, Gatlin has admitted.
Family members are incensed that Gatlin would be released by an official pardon by Governor Haley Barbour. The victim's mother Betty Ellis says, "Is Governor Barbour going to pardon us for our aches and pains and heartache that we have to suffer? Is he going to pardon a child that had to grow up without a mother? Is he going to pardon me from never being able to feel her arms around my neck again? What is Barbour going to do about that?"
The sister of the victim, Tammy Ellis Gatlin, says she served less time that her sister lived. She says, "It's completely unfair. I mean, he's in jail for 18 years. She was 20 years old when she died and had her child laying in her arms when he shot her in her head. And he's pardoned?"
David Ruth was the lead investigator on the case. He says there seems to have been a huge disconnect in communication in the system and that Gatlin's pardon sends the wrong message. Ruth says, "They had received a letter Friday from the parole board saying he was not going to be paroled and it would be considered again in October of 2012. And then they receive a call, not even 24 hours later that he was going to be pardoned. Certainly think that someone was not in sync with things."
CNN tried to reach Barbour's office for comment, but was unsuccessful.