DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Over 40 years after the horrific murder of a 13-year-old girl in DeKalb County, one of her convicted murderers is set for a parole hearing later this month.
Judith Ann Neelley has an opportunity for early release after spending just over 24 years in prison since she was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of Lisa Ann Millican, but the teen’s family is asking for the public to tell the Alabama Board of Pardons & Parole not to do that.
Cassie Millican, Lisa’s sister-in-law, tells News 19 that the teenager loved music.
“She would play “The Queen of Hearts” on repeat – to the point of where they put her player on the outside of the house,” Cassie recalled. “She told her aunt she wanted to be a doctor…when her first sister was born, my mother-in-law said she thought that was her baby. She loved “mommying” her siblings.”
Cassie said even though she could be extremely nurturing, she could hold her own with her cousins, all boys, as the “tomboy” in her came out as they all wrestled.
Lisa was from Cedartown, Georgia and was abducted by Alvin and Judith Neelley from the Riverbend Mall in Rome, Georgia on September 25, 1982. The couple drove her to a hotel in Franklin, Ga., where she was raped and made to sleep nude on the floor.
According to the Times-Journal, Judith later testified that she and her husband had been combing the streets for a week trying to pick up a young girl when she picked Millican.
Throughout her time in captivity with the Neelleys, the DeKalb County paper said Lisa was molested by both of them, adding that Judith even injected her with Drano.
The morning after abducting Lisa, the Neelleys picked up their two-year-old twins (Judith was pregnant with their third) before driving to the Five Points Inn in Scottsboro. Over the next two days, when Alvin wasn’t repeatedly raping Lisa, Judith was beating her. Otherwise, the 13-year-old was handcuffed and forced to stay in the bathroom.
According to the Times-Journal, the Neelleys left to find a secluded area to kill and dump Lisa before ending up at Little River Canyon in Fort Payne.
“Judith walked the girl to the cliff and in a span of about 30 torturous minutes, injected her a total of six times with caustic drain cleaner while she begged for her life,” the paper wrote. “Judith grew tired of the drain cleaner’s slow effect, so she shot the child in the back and pushed her body over the edge. The Neeleys then drove to Gadsden to sit down for breakfast.”
Lisa would not be the couple’s last murder, however. In 1983, Judith pleaded guilty in a Georgia courtroom to kidnapping and murdering 23-year-old Janice Chatman, along with shooting Chatman’s fiance John Hancock in early October 1982.
Neelley was sentenced to life in exchange for testifying against her husband, who was also on trial for Chatman’s murder. Because of her plea and sentence agreement, if Neelley were ever released in Alabama, she would immediately be transferred to Georgia to carry out that sentence.
However, even Georgia authorities disagree with her parole, sharing this letter with the ABPP:
Alvin Neelley, to avoid the death penalty, pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault in Georgia. He was never tried for Lisa’s murder. He was sentenced to life but died in the Bostick State Prison while serving that sentence in 2005.
Though sentenced at 18 years old to death by the electric chair for the kidnapping, torture, rape and murder of Lisa Millican in 1983, former Gov. Fob James commuted Neelley’s life sentence in 1999, just days before she was set to be executed.
The move made Neelley eligible for parole, which was denied in less than one minute in 2018.
If you want to have a say in keeping Judith Neelley from early release, Cassie said anyone can write letters to the ABPP at the address below, and let them know that you disagree with her release:
Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles
ATTN: Victim Services
100 Capitol Commerce Boulevard, Suite 310
Montgomery, AL. 36117
You can also send an email to the board here and include Judith Neelley’s inmate #00202618. There is no deadline to send letters, as Cassie said they will still go into Judith’s file, but any that make it before May 24 would have an exceptional impact on the May 25 hearing.