- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Death row inmate Michelle Byrom argues in documents filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court that she has new evidence that suggests her son killed her husband and she never sought to hire a hit man as he told prosecutors.

Byrom’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court on Monday to give her another trial. In such post-conviction petitions, an inmate argues they have found new evidence - or a possible constitutional problem - that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

Her attorney, David Calder, argued that Edward Byrom Jr. told a forensic psychologist during an evaluation that he had been physically and emotionally abused by his father and he shot his father for his own reasons.

Calder said the statements from Byrom Jr. were not revealed to Michelle Byrom or her attorneys before her trial and the psychologist was not allowed to testify about them at her trial.

The Supreme Court has given Attorney General Jim Hood’s office until Monday to respond. Byrom would have until March 5 to rebut the attorney general’s arguments.

Hood has said Byrom has run out of appeals. On Monday, Hood asked the Supreme Court to set Byrom’s execution date for March 27. The court has not ruled on that.

Michelle Byrom was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2000 in Tishomingo County in the killing of Edward “Eddie” Byrom Sr. and for recruiting her son in the plot.

Byrom Sr. was fatally shot June 4, 1999, at the couple’s home in Iuka. It’s not clear who fatally shot Byrom Sr.

In a rare move, Michelle Byrom asked Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner, instead of the jury, to decide whether she should serve life in prison or be put to death. Gardner sentenced her to death.

Prosecutors said she killed her husband of 20 years for money. Prosecutors said Michelle Byrom planned to pay a hit man $15,000 with proceeds from the estate estimated at more than $350,000.

Defense attorneys argued she had been physically abused as a child and by her husband.

Byrom Jr. testified against his mother during the trial as part of a plea bargain. He later pleaded guilty to several charges in the murder-for-hire scheme, including conspiracy to commit murder. Gardner sentenced him to 50 years in prison with 20 years suspended.

Joseph Dale Gillis, who was described in court documents as the hit man, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of conspiracy to commit capital murder and accessory after the fact. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Byrom Jr. testified that his mother asked him to talk to some of his friends about killing his father. He said she would pay $10,000 in the murder-for-hire scheme with the money to come from an expected insurance policy.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide