Judith Ann Neelley, serving life for killing 13-year-old girl in 1982, has another life sentence awaiting her for a separate murder conviction

By Jeff Truesdell
May 23, 2018 04:59 PM

A convicted murderer sentenced to life in prison must remain behind bars at least until 2023 for the abduction and murder of a 13-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped, injected by syringe with drain cleaner, shot, and then thrown into a canyon.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles debated for about a minute before voting Wednesday to deny release for Judith Ann Neelley, reports AL. com.

The decision came two days after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a letter that also opposed parole for Neelley and decried the “unspeakable brutality” of her crimes.

Neelley, whose original death sentence was commuted to life in prison by a previous governor, should not be paroled “not now, and not ever,” Ivey wrote in a letter to the board. “[H]er character includes a disturbing tendency to manipulate others toward her own, violent ends. These things alone should prevent Ms. Neelley from ever stepping foot outside an Alabama prison.”

Neelley was convicted after abducting 13-year-old Lisa Ann Millican from a shopping mall in Rome, Georgia, in September 1982, according to the Coosa Valley News.

She then took the victim across the state line to a motel in Scottsboro, Alabama, where Neelley’s then-husband, Alvin, raped the girl four times while the couple held her captive and tortured her, according to AL.com.

After three days, Judith Ann Neelley used a syringe to inject Millican with liquid drain cleaner while the victim was handcuffed to a tree at Little River Canyon, and when that didn’t kill her, Neelley shot and threw the victim’s body into the gorge, reports TV station WRBL.

Judith Ann Neelley
Alabama Department of Corrections

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Jurors who convicted Neelley recommended a sentence of life in prison, which the judge in the case disregarded when he sentenced her instead to death.

(Alvin Neelley also was convicted and died in prison in 2005 while serving his life sentence, according to WRBL.)

Former Gov. Fob James commuted Judith Ann Neelley’s sentence to life in 1999.

Those who testified Monday to the parole board against her release included Millican’s brother, Calvin. “That took a part of my life away. … And it took Lisa’s whole life away. She’s no longer here,” he said., according to AL.com. “Judith Ann Neelley is a very cruel, sick person.”

An attorney, Julian McPhillips, who testified for Neelley’s release, said she has acknowledged her crimes but argued that they were committed at the direction of her husband, the outlet reports.

“To say that Ms. Neelley was brainwashed is a vast understatement,” he said. “She was more like a zombie, no independent mind, no rational mind of her own, coerced by her husband.”

Had Neelley been released, she would have been transferred to Georgia, where a life sentence awaits her following her conviction for an October 1982 murder tied to the abduction of an engaged couple, John Hancock and Janice Chatman, from a Rome service station.

Chatman was raped and shot, the Coosa Valley News reports, but Hancock survived his shooting and testified against the couple.

Neelley will next come up for parole in 2023, reports TV station WIAT.