MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously denied parole Thursday for convicted child murderer Judith Ann Neelley.
Lisa Ann Millican’s family members told the parole board Neelley is pure evil and should be behind bars until her last breath.
The announcement of her denied parole was a relief for the family, who said they shouldn’t have to keep reliving this heinous crime, now nearly 41 years later.
“As soon as I pulled in the parking lot this morning, my nerves hit me. I was sick,” Lisa’s younger sister Tina Millican said.
Tina was just three when her 13-year-old sister Lisa was kidnapped at a Georgia mall by Judith Neelley and her husband in 1982.
The couple raped and tortured Lisa at a Scottsboro, Alabama motel for days, before Judith took her to Little River Canyon, injected her with drain cleaner, then shot her in the back and pushed her down the canyon.
“She missed out on so many nieces and nephews, she missed out on getting to grow up, have her own children, have a family. Why should her murderer get to get out and enjoy those things?” Tina Millican said.
Neelley was initially sentenced to death, but former Gov. Fob James commuted her sentence to life in prison in 1999, allowing her eligibility for parole.
It’s a move that Ninth Circuit District Attorney Summer Summerford says was a mistake. She says now, Alabama has an obligation to keep her locked up for life.
“Children often are scared of various things. You have a monster in the closet or a monster under the bed. The monster had a name in Northeast Alabama and that was Judith Ann Neelley,” Summerford said.
While the hearing dealt with the murder of Lisa, other crimes have been attributed to Neelley, including the murder of Janice Chatman and the attempted murder of her fiancé John Hancock.
Chatman’s daughter Deborah Callahan says it was important for her to speak to the Board today.
“I do not give mercy. If her name did start with an M it would be for the monster that she is,” Callahan said.
After hearing the pleas of the victims’ family members, the board voted unanimously to deny parole.
“God says to forgive, but not forget. I’ve been working on that. I don’t know if I can, but I am working on it,” Tina Millican said.
No one spoke in support of Neelley’s parole. She will be up for parole again in five years, and Millican’s family says they will be back every five years to protest.