Victims’ families are relieved after convicted child killer Judith Ann Neelley was denied parole

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WIAT) – The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles Convicted child killer Judith Ann Neelley was unanimously denied parole on Thursday.

Lisa Ann Millican’s family told the parole board that Neelley was a total evil and should remain behind bars until her last breath.

The announcement that she was denied parole came as a relief to the family, who said they would not have to relive this heinous crime now, nearly 41 years later.

“When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, my nerves were at the end. I was sick,” said Lisa’s younger sister, Tina Millican.

Tina was just three years old when her 13-year-old sister Lisa was kidnapped at a Georgia mall in 1982 by Judith Neelley and her husband.

The couple raped and tortured Lisa for days at a motel in Scottsboro, Alabama 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 so many nieces and nephews, she missed growing up, having kids of her own, starting a family. Why would her killer go out and enjoy these things?” said Tina Millican.

Neelley was originally sentenced to death, but former Governor Fob James commuted her sentence to life in prison in 1999, making her eligible for parole.

It’s a move Summer Summerford, District Attorney for the Ninth Circuit, believes was a mistake. She now says Alabama is committed to keeping her incarcerated for life.

“Children are often afraid of different 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, Neelley was also credited with other crimes, including the murder of Janice Chatman and the attempted murder of her fiancé, John Hancock.

Chatman’s daughter, Deborah Callahan, says speaking to the board today was important to her.

“I give no mercy. If her name started with an M, that would be for the monster she is,” Callahan said.

After hearing pleas from the victims’ families, 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 do it, but I’m working on it,” said Tina Millican.

No one spoke out in favor of Neelley’s parole. She faces parole again in five years, and Millican’s family says she will come back every five years to protest.

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