A Mississippi female death row prisoner who prosecutors say enlisted her child in a plan to murder her husband will be getting get a new trial. The Mississippi Supreme Court decided this on Monday in a rare ruling for a prisoner that is up for execution.
Michelle Byrom, age 57, was convicted of the murder of her husband Edward Byrom Sr. and for employing their son in the conspiracy. Byrom Sr. was lethally shot in 1999. Michelle was sentenced to die back in the year 2000 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi
Mrs. Byrom’s lawyers state that they have fresh evidence in the case, and Byrom is now saying that her son was the one who performed the murder. She contends in court briefings that her son pleaded guilty in discussions with a forensic psychologist. She claims the reports were discussed with the trial judge but were never revealed to her attorneys or herself before she went to trial. She also states that the psychologist was not permitted to testify about the confession.
The high court did not reveal how it came to decision. However, such a verdict is “very rare in the situation of a request for leave to pursue post-conviction reprieve”.
Mississippi has only one other female that sits on execution row, but the state has not put a woman to death since the year 1944.
David Voisin, one of the lawyers who is working with Michelle Byrom’s legal group, stated that the decision would give Mrs. Byrom a fair chance to have her case finally heard in court. Both federal and state courts had in the past denied Mrs. Byrom’s arguments that she should not be executed because she was both physically and sexually abused by her husband.
Prosecutors had stated that Michelle murdered her husband of 20 years for the money. She was going to hire a hit man for $15,000 and pay him from the profits that came from the estate. It was valued at over $350,000. Her son, Eddie Byrom Jr. ended up testifying against her in the trial as part of a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including conspiracy. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison with 20 years adjourned.
Byrom Jr. said in court that Michelle asked him to talk to friends of his about murdering his father. He explained that she said she would pay out $10,000 in the murder-for-hire arrangement with the money that would come in from an insurance policy. Michelle Byrom instead disputed that her son had said to the psychologist that he had been both emotionally and physically abused by his father and that he had shot the man for his own personal motives.
Michelle Byrom has come to the end of her appeals and is set to be put to death. She has been saying that her attorney had not done a good job. However the attorney general’s office has stated the Mrs. Byrom cannot debate issues that did not come up at the first trial. However Mrs. Byrom is going to get her new trial over the death of her husband. The Mississippi Supreme Court decided this on Monday.
By Kimberly Ruble