JACKSON — Authorities said a prominent Jackson businessman took his own life yesterday, days after his wife was released from prison by then-Gov. Haley Barbour.
Jackson Police spokeswoman Colendula Green told The Associated Press that emergency officials were called to Stuart M. Irby’s home shortly after 8 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
She said Irby hanged himself.
“There were no signs of foul play,” Green said.
In 2010, Irby settled a $60 million lawsuit filed by the estates of two doctors killed in a 2009 wreck for an undisclosed amount. His wife, Karen Irby, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for two counts of manslaughter. Barbour last week ordered her released on conditional clemency.
Department of Corrections records show she is out on house arrest.
Green said Karen Irby was not at the home where Stuart M. Irby’s body was found.
The Irbys previously filed for divorce, but it was not immediately clear late yesterday whether the divorce was ever finalized.
Karen Irby was among more than 200 people convicted of crimes who received some sort of reprieve from Barbour in the days before his second term ended Jan. 10. Most of the people received full pardons, some received medical releases and some received suspended sentences.
Karen Irby was the only person who received conditional clemency from Barbour. He ordered that she serve three years on house arrest, plus two years under Department of Corrections supervision.
Barbour said at a news conference last Friday that he believes pardons or other reprieves provide a chance at redemption.
Stuart M. Irby has made headlines since February 2009 when he and Karen Irby were involved in a fiery crash that injured them and killed two doctors on Old Canton Road in northeast Jackson. Karen Irby was driving and her husband was a passenger in Mercedes-Benz when it collided with a pickup driven by Dr. Daniel Mark Pogue. Pogue and his fiancee, Dr. Lisa Dedousis, died in the head-on collision.
The families of the victims settled a $60 million lawsuit against the Irbys. Stuart Irby was part of the family that had created the Stuart C. Irby Co., a large electrical distributor bought in 2005 by French firm Sonepar.
In 2011, Jim Hood rejected filing criminal charges against Stuart Irby in the crash. The family of Dedousis had sought the charges after Karen Irby had claimed that her husband had pulled her hair and struck her in the face just before the accident. Karen Irby later declined to take a polygraph to back up the allegations. Stuart Irby’s lawyers said he had no memory of the accident because he suffered a traumatic brain injury in the wreck.
Also last year, Stuart Irby faced charges of cyber stalking against a minor in Madison in a case involving Lee Bounds, an ex-husband of Karen Irby. Court papers said Irby took Bounds’ family to lunch, and later emailed Bounds a digitally altered picture of Bounds’ 17-year-old daughter. Court papers said Irby had put the daughter’s face on the body of an adult female wearing a swimsuit.
The charges were dismissed after a psychiatrist filed a report saying Irby had suffered a permanent brain injury. The psychiatrist said Irby didn’t fully understand the legal proceedings, couldn’t help his lawyers, and did not, at the time of the act, have the mental capacity to tell right from wrong.