On Thursday, Mississippi is scheduled to execute the first woman, Michelle Byrom, 57, in the state since 1944, even though her son, Edward Byrom Jr., repeatedly confessed to the killing that she is slated to die for — evidence the jury did not hear because her defense attorneys--their first capital murder trial-- never admitted the confession letters into evidence. Ms. Byrom was a lifelong victim of abuse, both as a child and in the marriage that ended in her husband’s death. Not to mention, at the time of her husband's death, Ms. Byrom was in the hospital for double pneumonia while on mind-altering drugs.
“As I sat on my bed, tears of rage flowing, remembering my childhood my anger kept building and building, and I went to my car, got the 9mm, and walked to his room, peeked in, and he was asleep. I walked about 2 steps in the door, and screamed, and shut my eyes, when I heard him move, I started firing.” -- Edward Byrom JrDespite corroborating evidence supporting the son's confessions such as the gunpowder found on his hands, Byrom Jr. pinned the murder plot on his mother after prosecutors convinced him to take a plea deal in exchange for a reduced sentence.
“When they got me here, I gave them a bullshit story after another, trying to save my own ass, but when David Smith started questioning me, and told me what happened, I was so scared, confused, and high, I just started spitting the first thought out, which turned into this big conspiracy thing, for money, which was all BS, that's why I had so many different stories,"--Edward Byrom Jr.So 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 life insurance policy. However, both Byrom Jr. and friend, Joey Gillis--accused of pulling the trigger despite the gun powder residue on Byrom Jr.'s hand-- walk free today.
The only certainty here is that Michelle Byrom did not have competent attorneys nor did she get a fair trial, the case in so many people who have been executed or who await their execution.
“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."--Judge Jess Dickinson