Target: Judge Jess Dickinson, Mississippi Supreme Court
Goal: Applaud decision to stay woman’s execution for crime her son may have committed
Michelle Byrom is a Mississippi mother on death row for a crime her son may have committed. Byrom was convicted of capital murder in 2000 for the death of her abusive husband while she was in the hospital undergoing treatment for double pneumonia.
The prosecution accused her of hiring an assassin to kill her husband, but her son admitted to the killing in several jailhouse letters and confessed to a court-appointed psychologist. Any of these confessions could have been used to exonerate his mother. Edward Byrom, Jr. recanted his testimony on the witness stand and instead pointed his finger at a friend, Joey Gillis, who he claimed was hired by his mother. However, Byrom Jr. was the only one of the three who ever tested positive for gunpowder residue. He then testified against his mother in exchange for a reduced sentence and none of his confession letters were admitted into evidence. Byrom’s trial was completely bungled by an incompetent attorney who advised her to waive her right to jury sentencing, and as a result she was sentenced to death by Judge Thomas J. Gardner.
Execution is a gruesome, final matter that should not exist in a civilized society. But in states where it is legal, it should only be used in the most extreme cases where the evidence is irrefutable. This case absolutely does not fit that set of criteria. Byrom was sentenced to death for a nearly impossible crime to which her son has confessed. An execution by the state would have been murder.
Please sign this petition to applaud the Mississippi Supreme Court for their decision to stay Michelle Byrom’s execution and to re-examine her case.
Dear Judge Jess Dickinson,
Thank you for your support of Michelle Byrom, the mother convicted of a crime her son may have convicted. Her stay of execution is due in part to your objections to her sentence.
You wrote that, “I have attempted to conjure up in my imagination a more egregious case of ineffective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase of a capital case. I cannot,” about the particular injustice against Michelle Byrom.
Thank you for your service to this woman. Please continue to speak out about injustices committed in your court of law, and if the court must use state execution as a penalty for egregious crimes, please use it with the utmost care. We cannot afford to execute even one innocent human being.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: CA Corrections via Wikimedia Commons