People from every corner of the globe now flock to the Mississippi resort town of Biloxi, MS every year. They come for the gambling, the night life, the beaches and the seafood. They bring their husbands, wives, children, friends, family and co-workers to town that welcomes all with open arms and is rich in history. History is something that Biloxi has a lot of. Incorporated in 1838 as a township, Biloxi has seen the atrocities of the civil war and devastation by hurricanes Camille and Katrina, but the tough little city fights on. While most visitors are very aware of these dark times in Biloxi, almost none of the visitors are aware of the bloody slayings of two prominent Biloxi political figures that may have laid the path for the profitable gambling center that the city has become today.
In 1987, the only gaming in Biloxi was conducted in the back rooms of long gone strip clubs and sex shops in an area of the Biloxi beach known as the strip. In 1987, a couple named Vincent and Margaret Sherry lived and were murdered in Biloxi and their murders would lead to the discovery of crime network worthy of a Hollywood drama. Vincent Sherry was a circuit court judge and was a partner in a well known and prestigious law firm. Margaret Sherry was a form city councilwoman and leading mayoral candidate and ever present thorn in then Mayor Gerald Blessey’s side. On Sept. 14, 1987, the Sherry’s were murdered execution style in their home in a Biloxi suburb. A series of investigations and trials would follow that would continue for 10 years. In the aftermath the city would see the indictment and conviction for conspiracy to commit murder of a former mayor who was also a close friend and business partner of Vincent Sherry who placed his bid for office at the funeral of Vincent and Margaret Sherry. Also convicted was a former employee of Vincent Sherry at his law firm. A former policeman was convicted and the case brought down and ultimately destroyed a crime organization know as the Dixie Mafia which was run by leaders in Biloxi and in the Louisiana prison system.
It has long since been speculated that had these murders never occurred, that Margaret Sherry would have become mayor of Biloxi and thusly would have used her considerable power and influence to hold up her conservative ideals which could have theoretically ended the bid to legalize gambling in Mississippi. It is also a belief amongst the community that even then the talks of legalizing gambling were already well under way and that many knew that Margaret Sherry would have been a major stumbling block in the race to beat New Orleans to build casinos which could have also led to her demise. It is not sure if she were alive, if she would have succeeded, but it is well known that with her husband, she carried enough power and political influence to severely delay any hopes to legalize gambling and in politics timing is everything. It has also never been proven that Margaret Sherry was the ultimate target in the slayings. In fact the prosecutions of all involved surrounded Vincent Sherry and his business dealings. One thing that can be said for sure is that slaying of these prominent Biloxians may have laid the foundation for the Mississippi Gulf Coast as we know it today.