Sixteen years ago Michelle Byrom found herself moving into a new home. She was only 42 years old, but this home was intended to be the last home she'd ever see. After all, her new home was the cold confines of a prison cell, and that prison cell was located on death row.

Advertisement
Hours before the state of Mississippi was scheduled to execute her, however, Byrom's life would take a surreal twist.

On March 26, 2014, CNN released a report confirming that Mississippi would proceed with Byrom's execution, the state's first execution of a female inmate in 70 years. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood had sent a request to the state Supreme Court that on March 27, Byrom was to be given a lethal injection for being convicted of hiring a hit man to murder her allegedly abusive husband, Edward Byrom Sr., the report states.

That lethal injection, as it turns out, would never happen.

Evidence that her son Edward Byrom Jr. had acted alone in murdering Edward Sr. was now being taken into account, and according to a follow-up CNN report on March 31, 2014, Michelle Byrom would be moved off of death row and granted a new trial. Ultimately, Byrom would be granted her absolute freedom.

Byrom's exclusive interview in the documentary below, created by Vimeo user Refinery29, details exactly how she learned of her new fate. Byrom was exiting the shower, seemingly as if it were any other day in her 15 years on death row, when her neighbor suddenly spoke up. "You're on the news!" the inmate exclaimed. "You're not going to die."

While a report from the Clarion-Ledger tells of Byrom's prison release in July 2015, and that she had always maintained her innocence, the interview below reveals that she had accepted her death row fate.

"Believe it or not, I was at peace," states Byrom from the freedom of her Murfreesboro, Tenn., living room, "And my last words? 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" In the interview, Byrom goes on to recall the abuse she received from Byrom Sr. throughout their time together.

Byrom's story is a stark glimpse into the realities of her specific abusive relationship, but she also offers her own insights into abusers in general. "We get to where we start believing in what they tell us," she says with a concerned face and trembling pause. "That we are nothing, and we will continue to be nothing."

Now a truly free woman, the documentary shows that Byrom is in the process of adapting to her new life on the outside, knowing that a prison cell won't have to be the final home she ever knows.