No dates set for 2 executions in Mississippi

Michelle Byrom
Michelle Byrom
Michelle Byrom

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court has not set execution dates for two inmates, making it increasingly unlikely that either execution would take place this week.

Attorney General Jim Hood had asked the court to set a Thursday execution for Michelle Byrom and a Friday date for Charles Ray Crawford.

The court did not act on the requests or issue any orders in the cases by the close of business Wednesday.

The inmates also have motions pending before the court as they seek permission to file additional appeals.

Grace Simmons Fisher, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said late Wednesday that standard procedure before an execution is to put the state penitentiary at Parchman on lockdown 24 hours in advance. Mississippi practice has been to conduct executions shortly after 6 p.m. Central time.

Byrom was convicted of capital 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.

Prosecutors said she killed her husband of 20 years for money, and that she planned to pay a hit man $15,000 with proceeds from the estate estimated at more than $350,000.

Defense attorneys argued that she had been physically abused as a child and by her husband.

Crawford was sentenced to death in 1994 for the rape and murder of Northeast Mississippi Community College student Kristy Ray in rural Tippah County. Crawford told authorities he did not remember the incident but later led them to the body buried in leaves in a wooded area.

State and federal courts have rejected appeals from Byrom and Crawford.