"Court refuses to set Byrom's execution date," is the AP report filed by Jack Elliott Jr., via the Commerical Dispatch.
The Mississippi Supreme Court refused Thursday to set execution date for death row inmate Michelle Byrom, whose attorneys say they have discovered new evidence in her case.
Byrom was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2000 in Tishomingo County in the killing of her husband, Edward "Eddie" Byrom Sr., and for recruiting her son in the plot. Byrom Sr. was fatally shot on June 4, 1999, at the couple's home in Iuka.
State Attorney General Jim Hood asked in February for the court to set Byrom's execution for Thursday. The one-page order in the Byrom case was signed by Mississippi Justice Josiah D. Coleman and gave no explanation for the court's decision.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports, "Supreme Court: No execution date for Michelle Byrom at this time," by Therese Apel.
Byrom, 57, was convicted of hiring a hit man to shoot her husband, Edward Byrom Sr., in 1999.
The wording on the order states, “Having duly considered the motion and Byrom’s response, the court finds that the Motion to Reset Execution Date is not well taken and should be denied.”
“That means that the court is not going to set a date at this time,” said spokesperson Beverly Kraft, adding that there are other motions pending before the court in that case.
The Attorney General’s office had requested Thursday be her execution date, but the court had not signed off on it.
Byrom argued in documents filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court that she has new evidence that her son killed her husband and that she had never hired a hitman as he told prosecutors.
"Mississippi's Michelle Byrom won't be executed Thursday," is by Marlena Baldacci for CNN.
During Michelle Byrom's original trial, prosecutors said she plotted to kill her husband, Edward Byrom Sr. He was fatally shot in his home in Iuka, Mississippi, in 1999 while Michelle was in the hospital receiving treatment for double pneumonia, but a jury convicted her based on evidence and testimony, saying she was the mastermind.
Byrom Jr. admitted in jailhouse letters that he committed the murder on his own after growing tired of his father's physical and verbal abuse, and a court-appointed psychologist has said that Byrom Jr. gave him a similar story.
On the stand, Byrom Jr. pinned the murder on one of his friends, whom he said his mother hired for $15,000.
Following her attorney's advice, Michelle Byrom waived her right to a jury sentencing, allowing the judge to decide her fate. He sentenced her to death.
"Court delays Mississippi's first execution of female inmate in 70 years," is by Emily Le Coz of Thomson Reuters, via GlobalPost.
Byrom says she suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by her husband and was hospitalized with pneumonia the day he died in what prosecutors alleged was a murder-for-hire scheme to collect insurance money.
Defense attorneys hope the court will consider evidence that Byrom's son was responsible for the murder.
"It appears they are looking deeply into the issues raised," said Jackson defense attorney David Voisin, who is consulting with Byrom's legal team on her case. "We are cautiously optimistic at this point."
It is relatively rare for women to be executed in the United States. In February, a Texas woman became the 14th female inmate put to death in the country since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, compared to about 1,400 men executed in that time.
The Jackson Free Press posts, "Attorneys Allege Lethal Drugs Violate Michelle Byrom's Constitutional Rights," a verbatim statement from Vanessa Carroll, an attorney for Byrom. Here's the beginning of the statement:
Mississippi uses three drugs for lethal injection: pentobarbital, vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. The first drug, pentobarbital, acts as an anesthetic to ensure that the condemned prisoner is unconscious and does not feel the effects of the second and third drugs, which stop the prisoner’s lungs and heart. Without an effective dosage of pentobarbital, the second two drugs cause excruciating pain similar to death by suffocation and then cardiac arrest. The prisoner would be paralyzed and unable to speak.
States that use the death penalty have had an increasingly difficult time obtaining pentobarbital since the manufacturer put controls in place that prohibit it from being used in executions. As an alternative, some states have turned to “compounding pharmacies” to make non-FDA-approved copies of pentobarbital.
Earlier this month, the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center sued MDOC for refusing to reveal the identity of the state’s supplier of lethal injection drugs. While the lawsuit was pending, it was discovered that H&W Compounding/Brister Brothers Pharmacy has supplied MDOC with the raw components necessary to make pentobarbital. Further investigation revealed that Brister Brothers Pharmacy most likely does not have the facilities and equipment necessary to compound a narcotic like pentobarbital from the raw materials.
Earlier coverage of Michelle Byrom's case begins at the link.