A new trial has been ordered for Michelle Byrom, the Mississippi inmate who was scheduled to be executed this week for a crime her son admitted to committing. Byrom’s capital murder conviction was reversed by the Mississippi Supreme Court, and a retrial at a lower district was ordered.
"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, said. “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."
The court’s decision to reverse the conviction comes after Byrom’s story was picked up by dozens of media outlets across the country. These stories detailed how she was set to be executed on March 27 for the murder of her abusive husband despite multiple written confessions to the crime penned by her son, Edward Byrom Jr.
Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, who called for Byrom’s execution, spoke on the reversal recently.
“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," he said. "Our citizens can once again take comfort in the fact that we have a legal system that works for all parties involved."
Oliver Diaz, the former Mississippi Supreme Court justice who publicly vouched for a retrial for Byrom, called the court’s reversal “amazing.”
“The lawyers filed a last-ditch motion for additional post-conviction relief. These are almost never granted,” Diaz said. “Defendants are limited to a single post-conviction motion. It is extremely rare to grant and send back for a new trial."