MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey sent a letter Tuesday to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles strongly opposing the parole of convicted child murderer Judith Ann Neelley. Neelley has a scheduled parole hearing this Thursday, May 25, 2023.
“Please do not grant parole to Judith Ann Neelley. Five years ago, I made that same request of this Board, and your predecessors unanimously denied parole after less than one of minute of deliberation. Although each of you has joined the Board since Ms. Neelley’s last parole hearing, nothing has changed since then that would support a different result today: Quite simply, Ms. Neelley should not be allowed to set foot outside of an Alabama prison,” wrote Governor Ivey to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
In 1982, Neelley, along with her late husband, Alvin Howard Neelley, abducted 13-year-old Lisa Ann Millican from a Georgia mall and took her to a Scottsboro, Alabama motel where she was raped, tortured and murdered before her body was dumped in Little River Canyon. Judith Neelley was convicted of murder in 1983 and was sentenced to death. In 1999, Neelley’s death sentence was commuted to life by then Governor Fob James, setting the stage for her eventual parole eligibility.
Neelley was also implicated in other violent crimes, including the murder of Janice Chatman and the attempted murder of her fiancé, John Hancock.
“I believe it was a mistake for Governor James to commute Ms. Neelley’s death sentence in the first place – and certainly to do so in the way that allows Ms. Neelley the possibility of parole,” said Governor Ivey. “Now, every five years, the wounds of these families are reopened as they wait with bated breath for your decision.”
Governor Ivey’s letter to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles is available here.
Media Release/Office of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey