From awaiting execution to awaiting a parole hearing.
A convicted Alabama killer is getting the chance to walk free, but her young victim’s family is fighting to keep her behind bars forever.
We met with the family at Little River Canyon – the scene of the crime.
“It’s very hard knowing what happened here. It’s cringe worthy,” shares Cassie Millican, the sister-in-law of Lisa Ann Millican, as she looks over the canyon.
13-year-old Lisa Ann Millican was kidnapped in from a mall in Rome, Georgia in 1982 by Judith Ann Neelley.
“Judith Ann Neelley was actually only 4 years older than my sister,” explains Calvin Millican, the brother of Lisa Ann Millican. “My sister was 14, she was 17. And her being young like that, I think my sister may have trusted her a little bit. I mean my sister didn’t meet no stranger, she was a friend to everybody.”
Judith brought Lisa to the Five Points Motel in Scottsboro where she was kept in Room 12 for multiple days.
Judith tortured and restrained Lisa while Judith’s husband Alvin raped her. Judith said in court that Alvin forced her to commit these crimes, but investigators of the case told us they had no doubt that Judith was the ringleader.
“She’s not a good person you know, she’s really not. And she tries to put everything off on her husband Alvin. Well, you know I have heard through the grapevine that it wasn’t Alvin, it was her, she was the one that was in charge of everything,” says Calvin Millican.
From the hotel, Judith drove Lisa to Little River Canyon in Fort Payne where she injected her multiple times with Drain-O. When Judith noticed it wasn’t killing her, she did what she came to do, and took Lisa Ann’s life.
“Judith shot her in the back, hoping that when she shot her in the back, she would fall forward, but instead Lisa fell backwards,” explains Cassie Millican.
“She was tortured. Kidnapped, tortured, shot up with Drain-O, you know, and that right there, that’s got to be bad. A lot of things happened to her that I don’t want to go into details on, but it should have never happened,” expressed Calvin Millican as he shook his head.
This interview was her brother’s first time at the site of his big sister’s murder. He says it brings back painful memories, like the day police found Lisa’s body.
“And then it comes out that she was killed, you know,” remembers Calvin Millican. “Right here, in this spot.”
Judith Neelley was actually the one who called police and gave the location of the body.
“She was very vocal about what she did. She has no remorse for what she did,” says Cassie Millican.
Two weeks after Lisa’s death, Judith and Alvin Neelley were arrested in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Judith Neelley was given the death sentence.
But in 1999, Governor Fob James commuted her sentence to life… and gave no reasoning.
“The Governor should have never commuted her sentence, you know, he should have let happened what she was sentenced,” says Calvin Millican.
Now after 35 years of prison, legal battles, and loopholes – Judith Ann Neelley has gone from death row to now being granted a parole hearing.
“It’s disrespectful in Lisa’s name and in Lisa’s memory that she thinks she is entitled to a parole hearing,” shares Cassie Millican. “You don’t get to take an entire life from a 13-year-old and think that you have a right to get out and walk among civilized human beings.”
“She shouldn’t be getting out on parole. She should have got her death sentence, but since she can’t, she should stay in there until her dying days,” says Lisa’s brother, Calvin Millican.
Judith’s husband, Alvin Neelley, died in prison in 2005 during his life sentence. The Millicans and investigators still say despite Judith has said – that she was the aggressor and controlled Alvin.
“To hear that she was forced by anyone other than her own self and her own demons is a lie and it is a spit in our face, she did it alone,” says Cassie Millican.
“She’s the one that brought my sister out here, she didn’t have to kill her, she could have let her go,” Calvin Millican says.
With the parole hearing this coming Wednesday, the Millicans are still fighting to keep Judith behind bars and want the public to help.
“Letting the parole board know that we are against it matters, you know every letter that you write helps,” says Cassie Millican who has been seeking justice for Lisa Ann Millican.
Now 35 years after Lisa’s death, the Millican family says they will continue to fight for Lisa and remember her as the little girl – and big sister – who was full of life and love.
“She’s never going to be forgotten,” says Calvin Millican of his big sister.
We reached out to Judith Neelley for comment, but did not hear back.
Her parole hearing is set for this Wednesday in Montgomery.
If you would like to write a letter to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles in Lisa’s memory, you can add the phrase “Too Good to be Forgotten.” That is what Lisa used to write at the end of her letters when she was alive.
Photos Courtesy of Times-Journal and Rome News Tribune