cover image Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia

Edward Humes / Author Simon & Schuster $23 (368p) ISBN 978-0-6

Vincent Sherry, a circuit court judge in Biloxi, and his wife, Margaret, city council member and a reform mayoral candidate, were fatally shot at their Mississippi home in 1987. The eldest of their four children, Lynne Sposito, hired a private detective. Biloxi had a history as a sin city; some of its cops were corrupt, while others were barely competent, and the police tried to implicate the Sherrys' adopted son in the murder. The individual perceived by Sposito to be most likely to suffer from a reform administration was Mike Gillich, who owned a number of strip joints in Biloxi; he was connected to con man Kirksey Nix, who was subsequently convicted of murder in Louisiana and given a life sentence. Nix's longtime lawyer was Vincent Sherry's law partner, Pete Halat, who may or may not have profited from Nix's many scams. Four years after the slayings, Gillich, Nix and two others were found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Sherrys' murder and given long prison terms. But questions remain, notes the author: ``No one has been charged with the actual killings.'' Humes ( Buried Secrets ) has written an exceptionally fine depiction of a multifaceted case. Photos. (Sept.)