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From Midnight to Guntown

True Crime Stories from a Federal Prosecutor in Mississippi

John Hailman

Publication Year: 2013

As a federal prosecutor in Mississippi for over thirty years, John Hailman worked with federal agents, lawyers, judges, and criminals of every stripe. In From Midnight to Guntown, he recounts amazing trials and bad guy antics from the darkly humorous to the needlessly tragic.

In addition to bank robbers--generally the dumbest criminals--Hailman describes scam artists, hit men, protected witnesses, colorful informants, corrupt officials, bad guys with funny nicknames, over-the-top investigators, and those defendants who had a certain roguish charm. Several of his defendants and victims have since had whole books written about them: Dickie Scruggs, Emmett Till, Chicago gang leader Jeff Fort, and Paddy Mitchell, leader of the most successful bank robbery gang of the twentieth century. But Hailman delivers the inside story no one else can. He also recounts his scary experiences after 9/11 when he prosecuted terrorism cases.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-xi

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pp. xiii-xix

The idea for this book came from a good source: singer/songwriter Willie Nelson. Several years ago, I was attending a seminar in Austin, Texas, when my old friend and fellow prosecutor, James Tucker, said, “Meet me at the back door of the hotel at precisely 6:00 p.m., and don’t tell anyone...

Common Law Enforcement Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xxi-xxiii

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Prologue: The Making of a Career Prosecutor

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pp. 3-16

For years, it never really occurred to me why I enjoyed being a prosecutor so much, but I knew I did. In my office, we used to say, “If I didn’t need the money, I would do this job for free.” What we all enjoyed most were the jury trials, which were like sports, full of intense competition performed...

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1. Bank Robbers I’ve Known

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pp. 17-67

We once took an informal poll in my office for our favorite crime to prosecute. The result was unanimous: bank robbery. Why? Well, a bank robbery is fast-moving and exciting, and even though there is an element of force and violence, physical injury is pretty rare, although there is...

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2. Corruption in Positions of Trust: Lawyers, Judges, Supervisors, Sheriffs

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pp. 69-172

Prosecuting public officials and other prominent citizens for corruption brings conflicting reactions from the public. For some, it deepens their cynicism about government: “They’re all crooks—I told you so.” Other times, a few public officials criticize us prosecutors: “Every time...

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3. Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs

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pp. 173-236

When I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, because of my three years of civil rights experience with Legal Services during law school and my two years as law clerk for Judge William Keady during school and prison desegregation, U.S. Attorney H. M. Ray assigned me to do all the office’s...

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4. Killers and Wannabes

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pp. 237-318

Most murders are not federal crimes. State DAs handle most homicides unless they are committed on federal lands like national parks. Fortunately for prosecutors in our office who get satisfaction from putting killers behind bars for life (like me) north Mississippi is rich in federal...

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5. Faraway Places with Strange-Sounding Names: The Age of Terror

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pp. 319-370

When I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1974, it never occurred to me that I would ever know a terrorist beyond the Ku Klux Klan nor have any use for the fluent French I acquired during my two years as an undergraduate at the Sorbonne in Paris. Oxford did not sound like a launching pad...


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pp. 371-375

Bibliography of Related Readings

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pp. 377-380

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pp. 381-382

A project as ambitious as this book, with its multitude of stories and characters, could only be completed with the generous help of an army of friends. It began several weeks before I retired from the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Anita McGehee, secretary to the U.S. Attorney, and Joan...

Index [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 383-398

E-ISBN-13: 9781621039532
E-ISBN-10: 1621039536
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617038006

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2013