The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a new trial for death row inmate Michelle Byrom Monday, just days after the high court denied the state’s request for an execution date last week.
In the two-page order, Justice Josiah Coleman called the reversal “extraordinary and extremely rare in the petition for leave to pursue post conviction relief.”
The court’s decision reverses Byrom’s 2000 capital murder conviction for conspiring to kill her husband. Prosecutors accused Byrom of hiring Joey Gillis to kill her husband Edward Byrom Sr. in 1999. Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner sentenced Byrom to death for the murder-for-hire.
In an appeal, Ms. Byrom noted that her son Edward Byrom Jr. admitted to murdering his abusive father—in two jailhouse letters and an interview with a court-appointed psychologist—but jurors never saw or heard any of these confessions. The Jackson Free Press published excerpts from Byrom Jr’s letters last week, drawing the attention of national media.
The Supreme Court ordered the state assign a different judge in Byrom’s new trial.