The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, under pressure from the governor and attorney general, voted Wednesday to keep Melanie Gray Lowery behind bars, a reversal of its previous decision to free her, reports the Birmingham News. The contentious two-hour hearing was filled with graphic claims by her family that she killed her husband in self-defense after he’d abused her and her sons. His family told the board those claims were lies, and they were supported by Alabama Attorney General Troy King along with numerous local politicians and lawmen.
Melanie Lowery, 49, a mother of three, has served 14 years for the 1990 shooting death of her husband, Jackie Ray Lowery. After the Parole Board voted last month to free her, victims rights groups complained to King, who asked for Gov. Bob Riley’s help in pressuring the board to reconsider. Board members, who were appointed by Riley and serve at his discretion, responded at her second hearing with a unanimous decision to deny parole. Lowery won’t be considered again for five years.