The state of Mississippi has moved to execute its first female death row prisoner in 70 years. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood requested earlier this week that Michelle Byrom be executed by lethal injection. (Via WXVT ) The state Supreme Court has the final say on executions, so if it confirms the date, Byrom will be the first woman to be put to death in Mississippi since 1944.
According to the Jackson Free Press , Byrom was given the death penalty back in Nov. 2000 for the murder of her husband. He was found shot to death in his home in June 1999 while Byrom was in the hospital with double pneumonia. But there’s a lot of evidence that suggests Byrom is innocent and deserves a stay of execution. The most glaring of it all — the fact that Byrom’s son has confessed not once, not twice but four times to murdering his father, who was reportedly abusive to both his son and wife, as The Atlantic points out. (Via Mississippi Department of Corrections )
The Jackson Free Press published three letters smuggled to Byrom’s jail cell in which Edward Byrom Jr. owned up to the killing. He also reportedly confessed once again to a court-appointed psychologist. But a jury has never heard any of his confessions. CNN reports Byrom’s inexperienced defense attorneys never had the confession letters entered into evidence. So Byrom’s son took a plea deal in exchange for a reduced prison sentence and testified against his mother. Byrom was convicted based on the theory that she, her son and one of his friends had paid someone to kill her husband so they could collect his life insurance money. She was the alleged mastermind.