“There’s no way justice was done in this case,” said former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. “If an execution is allowed to proceed, we all are complicit in it in Mississippi.”
Mississippi is scheduled to execute Michelle Byrom on Thursday. Multiple confessions to the murder by her son were never admitted into evidence. Nor was the fact that she was abused both as a child and in the marriage that ended in her husband’s death.
When her husband, Edward Byrom Sr., died, Michelle was in the hospital for double pneumonia.
Her son Edward Byrom Jr. wrote in one of several confession letters never admitted into evidence, “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.”
Byrom Jr., his friend Joey Gillis, and Michelle Byrom were initially all charged in a murder conspiracy. But Byrom Jr. made a deal with the prosecutors to testify against his mother in exchange for a reduced sentence, and said in a letter that he told prosecutors his mother paid Gillis to murder her husband. That was the theory prosecutors pursued, even though Byrom Jr. later confessed that theory was false, also.
Michelle was abused by her step-father for six years and forced into prostitution, according to an investigation by the Jackson Free Press. She ran away at age 15, and started living with Byrom Sr. Mississippi law defines sexual relations with a teen younger than 16 as statutory rape.
Edwards Jr. later reportedly forced her to have sex with other men while he videotaped her.