COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – “You’re sitting there waiting for them to kill you,” says Sabrina Butler, who knows exactly what it feels like to sit on death row.
In 1990, the state of Mississippi convicted her of capital murder for the death of her 9-month old son Walter. Butler was then sentenced to death but after a re-trial 2 years later, her conviction was overturned. Butler, who still lives in Columbus, says the pending execution for Michelle Byrom really hits home for her.
“When I heard or came across Ms. Byrom’s case, it really hurt me because, well all of them do, but she is actually in same correctional facility where I was and on the same death row,” says Butler.
Sabrina Butler was just 17 years old when she was convicted and spent 6 1/2 years behind bars. She now travels the country speaking out against the death penalty as a member of the group, Witness to Innocence. She feels obligated to advocate for inmates and believes, no matter the crime, death is not the answer.
“I just think that you cannot say to a person that has committed a crime that you are a murderer that you deserve to die. Then you turn around and do to them what you’re telling them they’re wrong for doing. You’re just as guilty as they are, you’re killing them. That’s murder. Murder is murder, it doesn’t matter how you do it,” says.
The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that her son’s death was not an accident. It’s now believed that Butler’s son most likely died from polycystic kidney disease. Butler has been married for 18 years and has had two more children. Her 9-year old daughter also has the same kidney disease.
When asked how it feels to be the only woman in America to be exonerated after being sentenced to death row, she replied, “It’s lonely. It’s scary.”
Butler has also written a book:: Exonoree: The Sabrina Butler Story.
“I hope that I can make a change by speaking out and changing the system as it currently is because it does not work in its present state,” says.
Currently, there are 50 people in the state of Mississippi on death row. Sabrina Butler is one of only 144 people in the United States who have been exonerated from death row.