Thursday, March 27, 2014

Michelle Byrom gets death penalty for crime son confessed to

A WOMAN is set to be executed for a crime her son confessed to committing. Mississippi’s attorney general has requested that Michelle Byrom be put to death for hiring her son’s friend to kill her abusive husband, Edward Byrom Sr., while she was in hospital, CNN reports.

If the state Supreme Court accepts the execution request, Byrom, 57, will be the first woman put to death in the state in 70 years.

However, Byrom’s advocates say she deserves a stay, chiefly because her son, Edward Byrom Jr, confessed to the 1999 killing in three letters smuggled to his mother, and in another statement to a court-appointed psychologist.

Byrom’s attorneys, who were trying their first capital murder case, never had the confessions entered into evidence, and Byrom Jr. took a plea deal for a reduced sentence, according to CNN.

Authorities allege that Byrom Jr., his mother and his friend, Joey Gillis, colluded to kill Byrom Sr, in order for Michelle Byrom to collect on her husband’s $US150,000 ($162,000) life insurance policy.

Evidence at the trial included a statement from Byrom Jr, who accused Gillis of the shooting and his mother of hiring his friend to kill his father.

But Byrom Jr.’s repeated confessions contradict the prosecution’s trial theory that Gillis pulled the trigger and Michelle Byrom was the mastermind.

In one letter to his mother, Byrom Jr. wrote how he killed his father in a rage after his father called him a "bastard, no good, mistake, and telling me I’m inconciderate (sic) and just care about my self."

After his father hit him, Byrom Jr. retrieved a 9mm handgun, entered his father’s bedroom, opened fire and fled, he wrote in the letter.

The fact that a jury never heard Byrom Jr.’s confessions is a "perversion of American jurisprudence," Warren Yoder, executive director of the Public Policy Center of Mississippi, told CNN.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. said Byrom should get a new trial.

"The majority of Mississippians support the death penalty because they think that people get fair trials and they think that they have competent attorneys representing them," Mr Diaz told CNN. "In this case, she didn’t have either one."

Original report here




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