Michelle Byrom, Spared Mississippi Murderess, Gets New Trial

Image: Michelle Byrom, Spared Mississippi Murderess, Gets New Trial

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 07:56 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Michelle Byrom, the Mississippi death row inmate convicted of killing her allegedly abusive husband in 1999, will get a new trial as ordered by the state Supreme Court on Monday.

Byrom had been scheduled to be executed last week.
The opinion reverses Byrom's capital murder conviction and remands her case to the circuit court, where jurors will hear for the first time multiple sworn jailhouse confessions from her son who admitted to killing his father, Eddie Byrom Sr., as well as other evidence that had apparently not been presented in the first trial, CNN reported.

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Byrom's son has since been released from jail and the prosecution's alleged trigger man in the killing, a friend of the son, has since been discarded as a possible suspect, the Christian Science Monitor reported. The prosecution had claimed that Byrom was behind the murder-for-hire plot to kill her husband in order to collect his life insurance policy.

Despite all this, the 57-year-old Byrom, who claimed she had suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse from her late husband, remained on death row as of late last week. If killed by the state, Byrom would have been the first female prisoner to be executed in Mississippi in 70 years.

"We are very grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom's request for relief from her death sentence," Byrom's attorney, David Calder, told CNN. "This was a team effort on the part of the attorneys currently representing Michelle, and we believe that the court reached a just and fair result under the facts presented in this case."

In response to the new trial announcement, Attorney General Jim Hood, who had requested Byrom's execution, told CNN that his office would be requesting the court's reasoning behind its reversal.

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"While we respect the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision, it is important that the trial court know and understand the specific errors that were found by the justices so that the lower court knows the best way to proceed," Hood said. "Our citizens can once again take comfort in the fact that we have a legal system that works for all parties involved."

In an interview with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, High Court Justice Josiah Dennis Coleman described the tribunal’s decision as "extraordinary and extremely rare in the context of a petition for leave."

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