NORTHEAST, Miss. (WCBI)- For Michelle Byrom, the clock is ticking. Time has taken on a new meaning for the death row inmate. If the State Supreme Court approves the Attorney General’s request, Byrom will die by lethal injection, or she could receive a last minute stay of execution.
Byrom was convicted of the 1999 slaying of her husband, Eddie Byrom Sr. at their Tishomingo county home. Defense Attorney Carrie Jourdan says there are too many holes in the case.
“Michelle Byrom’s case is really unusual. Someone else has confessed to it multiple times and that is specifically her son. And a lot of the questioning occurred while she was in the hospital, specifically the incriminating statement was allegedly under the influence of some medication and very ill. She apparently had pneumonia,” said Jourdan.
Byrom’s son took a plea deal for his testimony against his mother and is now serving a reduced sentence. In the meantime, Michelle Byrom must wait for the State Supreme Court’s ruling. According to Jourdan, sentencing a woman to death is no easy decision for jurors.
“There are often a lot of mitigating factors that we see with women that we might not see or might not be as sympathetic in cases involving men but abusive situations or where they were forced to do it, again i’m not saying that makes it okay, but there are certain sympathy factors that I think women might be able to use in a trial in regards to the death penalty,” said Jourdan.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Clemons says when it comes to the courtroom, gender is not a factor, and they let the jury know that from the very beginning.
“When it comes to jury argument, I always want to make sure that I emphasize to a jury that the gender shouldn’t matter. It should be a matter of limiting the verdict to the actual facts, the evidence that’s presented. We ask them to and jurors take an oath that they’re going to return a true verdict based on the evidence. Jurors are suppose to divorce themselves from everyday human emotions like sympathy, empathy and that sort of thing,” said Clemons.
If all appeals and request are exhausted, Byrom will be the first woman executed in the state in the last 7 decades.
According to a Jackson newspaper, Byrom only admitted to the murder after a sheriff asked her if she’d allow her son to take the blame.