byrom trial advance

Trial set for third suspect in Byrom murder

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

IUKA – The third suspect in the June 4, 1999, shooting death of Edward “Eddie” Byrom Sr. is scheduled to be tried March 19 in Tishomingo County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors have indicated that the third and final defendant, Joey Gillis, was the trigger man in the murder-for-hire scheme.

The victim’s wife was tried and convicted by a Tishomingo County jury this past November. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Gardner sentenced Michelle Byrom, 44, to death for her role in the murder of her husband.

Byrom, a TVA electrician, was shot four times in the chest with a 9 mm German Luger World War II relic which once belonged to the victim’s father. The shooting occurred in the Byrom home.

The Tishomingo County jury found Byrom guilty of capital murder but in a rare move, Byrom waived her right to a jury trial in the penalty phase and asked the judge to consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and then impose a sentence.

In asking for the lesser sentence of life in prison, the defense argued that while Byrom, 44, was not a perfect wife and mother, she and her son suffered severe emotional and physical abuse for years at the hands of her husband in a violent household. There was also sexual abuse, defense attorneys said.

Son was state witness

Edward Byrom Jr., 20, testified against his mother in a plea bargain agreement with the district attorney. In exchange for his testimony and guilty plea, the state offered a recommended sentence of 50 years, with 20 suspended and 30 to serve.

Testimony indicated the mother negotiated with Gillis, a family friend, to hire a hit man for $15,000.

Byrom planned to pay off the hit man with proceeds from Byrom Sr.’s estate estimated in value at more than $350,000, evidence revealed. She then planned to set up her son and Gillis in Florida where she would join them after settling the estate, testimony revealed.