Letter from Judy Neelley today.
I am really, really mixed on Judy. She did some heinous things. She was also very, very young. Her case reminds me alot of what is happenng in Calfornia now with Janeen Marie Snyder.

Judy was born and raised right here in my neighborhood. She met an married her husband Alvin when she was 14 years old. He was abusive of her and had her so afraid to go against him in any way. I watched my mother go through some helacious abuse and I have seen first hand what it can do.

In this letter she talks about how the women in the prison were moved to another prison. She has been there 2 months and s depressed and miserable. She talks of the book on her "Early Graves" being passed around and the other inmates comments on it.

She said she argued withe her boyfriend on the phone but doesnt say about what. This is the frst mention shes made of a boyfriend n the 2 years we've written.

The letter is short since she was moved unexpectedly and was trying to let everyone know where she was.

I feel like Judy has paid her debt to society. She was a chld under the spell of a brutal, abusive monster. Afraid to move without his consent.
She was raised into womanhood by this man and then people wonder why she did the things she did.

Her death sentence was commuted to life in prison. There was some talk that she could actually parole at some point.
Her husband Alvin died in prison last year of heart failure.

I toured Judys old stomping grounds in May. I took pictures and sent them to her. If anyone would like to see them please send me your email address.


I got a letter from Antoinette Frank this week. SInce my move I have not been able to write like I used to.
I did write to Antoinetter last month, explaining my move and my mothers death. She wrote and told me about her new book being published in 2007.
She had published a small booklet with a religious publisher last year but I was never able to get a copy.
Im not sure if this is the same publisher but from her letter I am led to believe that it is a traditional publisher. Im anxious to get her next letter and hope she goes into more detail.
She also forwarded a letter to me from her brother. Also incarcerated. Im not sure for what. He expresses his sympathy on my moms passing and relates his own tragedy. His daughter has passed away and he tried to connect with me on that level.

Antoinette was a police officer who, with her cousin, orchestrated and comitted a roberry of a Chineese restaurant that she moonlighted at as a guard. After hours she attempted the robbery which went afoul and killed a fellow police officer- her partner- and two children of the restaurants owner.
Antoinette was actually on duty at the time and responded to the call of the robbery she had just commited.



From the Herald Tribune on Shonda Johnson-

Court: Walker County woman again facing death sentence

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A Walker County woman is again looking at the death penalty for having one of her husbands killed because he got her prosecuted for bigamy.

On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, which had overturned the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Shonda Nicole Johnson.

Johnson was convicted in 1999 of the shooting death of Randy McCullar in a church parking lot in rural Walker County on Nov. 30, 1997. The capital murder charge involved killing a person who had been a grand jury witness.

Testimony at the trial showed that Johnson was still married to McCullar when she married William Howard McIntyre Jr. in 1995 and when she married Tim Richards in 1997.

McCullar testified before a grand jury and got Johnson prosecuted for bigamy. He also filed for divorce and custody of their child three weeks before he was killed.

According to testimony, Johnson was so mad that she tried to get a former boyfriend she lived with between the McIntyre and Richards weddings to kill McCullar, but he wouldn't. Then she persuaded Richards to cut McCullar's tire while he was in a lounge. According to testimony, Richards and Johnson followed McCullar to a church parking lot, where Johnson gave Richards a loaded gun and got him to kill McCullar.

The appeals court overturned Johnson's conviction and death sentence in 2005 because it said the judge should have told jurors to limit how they considered the evidence about the bigamy charge and prior "adulterous acts."

The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 decision written by Republican Justice Mike Bolin, said there was no need for limiting instructions because the evidence "was properly admitted as substantive evidence of the offense with which Johnson was charged."

Johnson's case now goes back to a lower court for the reinstatement of her death sentence.


Ive had some emails lately asking about Shonda Johnson.
No, she is no longer on death row.
The main reason for this is becuase she is innocent. Her case was the biggest bunch of bullshit that I have seen in a while.

At any rate, the Equal Justic Initiative became involved and she now sits in a Alabama jail in her hometown. Hopefully she will return home before long.

Her case is especailly scary becuase what happened to her could very well happen to anyone.

He husband murdered her ex husband and in order to take a plea he involved her in his crime. Telling police she was present at the time. Not ony was she not present but she had evidence of such which was suppressed.

Scary stuff.


Ive started writing to a man in prison, which is unusual for me.
He isnt on the row but serving life.
His story touched me so deeply I thought of him for several days before deciding to send him a copy of the girls newsletter.

His name is Randy Wood.
I saw his story on an A&E American Justice titled Murder at Homecoming.
He and a few buddies were drinking in a camper trailer when one of the girls from school showed up. She got drunk right alon with them and although she was an ex girlfriend of Randy's ended up sleeping with one of the other fellas.
After pasing out, the third fella goes in to see her and he also has sex with her.
She wakes up sometime later and his hysterical. Saying that she was raped by the third fella who was a shady type.
The two that had sex with her take her to a bridge and blow her head off and throw her over the bridge.
Randy was along for the ride, threatened and scared and in over his head.

When all three were arrested he refused a plea bargain to make sure that his story was taken for the truth that it was. He told how the evening unfolded and how the events took place.

This high school kid refused a plea bargain, took nothing in exchange for telling the truth and will now spend his life behind bars.

It breaks my heart. I shudder to think what anyone of us would do if confronted with a shotgun in our face. Especially at that young age.

He has been in a Texas prison ten years in November.

We've been writing for several months now. He's very sweet and appreciative of everything I do. Even the girls family doesnt blame him and thinks his sentence was to harsh. The mother has tesitifed in his behalf.
He has led an exemplary prison life while the other two have had escape attempts and other mishaps.

This guy just breaks my heart.


Im writing Michelle Byrom back today.
She is in Mississippi. Convicted of killing her husband even though she was in the hospital when the trigger was pulled. Long trigger finger, huh?
She is actually convicted of masterminding the whole caper and having her son and his friend pull the trigger.


Michelle writes long 10, 12 and sometimes 15 page letters about her state of affairs. I hear every detail of her prison life and those around her.
She is by far my most expensive pen friend. She asks for a lot because she needs a lot.
Her family has deserted her.


OK- HUGE decision on my part here-
I am constantly getting well meaning (if a bit testy) emails from people who come here to read information on my work with the death row women. They are mildly confused by my rantings on my kids and life in general. Usually my attitude would be "deal with it"
But a publisher friend of mine has suggested that it is actually better to separate the two.
I have often see people signature lines with two or three blog links in it and I always think- why would anyone need more than one blog? That is a sign of a person with to much time on their hands.
And now I am one of those people.
At any rate- This blog will be entirely dedicated to the death row women and related topics.
My family, life, kids and the rest of me will now reside here-


Please come and visit. Leave a comment. I'm lonely over there.

Alyssa Bustamante Update