Michelle Byrom was about to be the first woman executed by the state of Mississippi in several decades.
Before that could happen, Byrom found herself getting a second chance at life and her freedom. Her original conviction was overturned and she was granted a new trial.
“We are very grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom’s request for relief from her death sentence,” said David Calder, Byrom’s attorney.
The 57-year-old woman was sentenced to die following her conviction in 2000 for the murder of husband Edward Byrom, Sr.
Byrom was accused of heading a “murder-for-hire plot” that involved her son’s best friend Joey Gillis.
The plan was allegedly to kill off Byrom’s husband to collect $350,000 and his life insurance.
The abusive nature of her marriage makes it possible for her to argue “battered wife syndrome” as part of her defense in the new trial, however this may not even be necessary.
Her son, Edward Byrom Jr., confessed to the murder multiple times. Even her alleged co-conspirator, Gillis, claimed that it was her son that pulled the trigger. Gillis entered a plea agreement and was released from prison in 2009.
Byrom Jr. originally testified against his mother as part of a plea agreement, but later recanted. He himself was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with 20 years of the sentence suspended.
— PolicyMic (@PolicyMic) March 26, 2014
This potential new evidence raises a considerable amount of reasonable doubt as multiple parties may have lied, one of them under oath. This could clear Byrom of direct involvement or at least offer the possibility of a non-fatal sentence.
There is also the possibility Byrom may be sitting on death row for no other reason than because she as a mother would rather die than allow her son to take her place.
She apparently admitted to the crime only when it became clear that if she did not, her son would be potentially put to death for the murder.
— Ronni Mott (@RonniJFP) March 30, 2014
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