Alvin and Judith Neelley

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Alvin Howard Neelley, Jr. (1953–2005) and Judith Ann Adams Neelley (born 1964) are an American couple who committed two torture murders. They each were convicted of the kidnappings and murders of Lisa Ann Millican and Janice Kay Chatman and attempted to commit a third. Judith Neelley was sentenced to death by the State of Alabama (1983), but her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment (1999).[1] She is serving her sentence at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.[2] Alvin Neelley was serving a life sentence at the Bostick State Prison in Hardwick, Georgia at the time of his death in 2005.[1]

Early lives[edit]

Alvin Neelley[edit]

Alvin Howard Neelley, Jr., was born in 1953 in Georgia, where he was a car thief during his teenage years. He met his second wife, Judith Ann Adams, when he was 26 years old and she was 15. Alvin divorced his first wife shortly before eloping with Judith Adams (1980).[3]

Judith Ann Neelley[edit]

Judith Ann Adams was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on June 7, 1964. Her father, an alcoholic, died in a motorcycle accident when she was nine. After meeting Alvin Neelley, she began her life of crime, committing armed robbery across the country (even when heavily pregnant) for which she was later caught. She gave birth to twins while incarcerated at Rome, Georgia's Youth Development Center.[3]

Youth Development Center crimes[edit]

On September 11, 1982, Ken Dooley, a Youth Development Center employee, was shot at four times. The following day, fellow employee Linda Adair's home was firebombed with a Molotov cocktail. Phone calls were made to the victims following the attacks by a female who claimed to have been sexually abused at the Youth Development Center, but neither victim could identify the caller's voice.[4][5]

Lisa Ann Millican[edit]

Lisa Ann Millican, a 13-year-old girl from Cedartown, Georgia was abducted by Alvin and Judith Neelley from the Riverbend Mall in Rome, Georgia on September 25, 1982.[4] She was taken to a Scottsboro, Alabama, motel where the Neelleys held her captive. During her captivity, Lisa was raped by both Neelleys multiple times. On September 28th Judith injected Lisa with Drano into first one side, and later both sides of her neck, both arms, and both buttocks in an attempt to poison her to death. Liquid Plumber was also used on some of the injections. When the painful poisoning hadn't killed her, Lisa was ordered to rise, shot in the back by Judith, and her body thrown over a cliff in the Little River Canyon in Fort Payne, Alabama.[1] Judith later called various police agencies several times to report the location of Lisa's body, where it was found on the canyon floor draped over a fallen tree.[6]

Janice Chatman and John Hancock[edit]

Janice Chatman and John Hancock were a young engaged couple from Rome, Georgia. On October 4, 1982, they were abducted by Judith Neelley.[4] John Hancock was shot while Janice Chatman was abducted and brought back to the Neelleys' motel room, where she was tortured and murdered. John Hancock, however, did not die, and was able to point to Alvin and Judith Neelley as his assailants.[6]

Arrests and trial[edit]

Judith Neelley was arrested on October 9, 1982, and Alvin was taken into custody a few days later.[4] Judith was deduced as being the perpetrator in the YDC employee attacks.[6]

To avoid the death penalty, Alvin Neelley pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault in Georgia. He was not tried for the Lisa Millican murder.[6]

Judith Neelley's trial began on March 7, 1983, in Fort Payne, Al. Before her trial however, she gave birth to a third child behind bars.[4] After a six-week trial, Judith was convicted of the torture murder of Lisa Ann Millican. Despite a jury's recommendation to sentence Judith to life in prison,[7] judge Randall Cole sentenced the 18-year-old mother of three to death in Alabama's electric chair.

Following her first conviction, Judith pleaded guilty to Janice Chatman's murder.


Alvin Neelley was incarcerated at the Bostick State Prison from 1983 until his death in November 2005.[1]

Judith Neelley became the youngest woman sentenced to death in the United States. She was on Alabama's Death Row at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Judith appealed for a new trial, but it was denied in March 1987. In 1989, the United States Supreme Court affirmed her death sentence. On January 15, 1999, Judith Neelley was days from her execution date when Alabama's then-governor Fob James granted her clemency, commuting her death sentence to life in prison, instead of life in prison without parole. The decision was met with controversy, but James cited how Judith's jury wanted to sentence her to life in prison, but the judge sentenced her to death. Judith would have been eligible for parole in January 2014.[7] The Alabama Legislature passed a law in 2003 designed to make her always ineligible for parole.[8]

In the media[edit]

On February 28, 2008, the Neelleys' case was profiled on the Investigation Discovery program Most Evil. On a scale developed by forensic psychiatrist Michael Stone, Judith was ranked as a category 22 killer, the "most evil" level deemed for serial torture murderers.[9]

On October 23, 2008, Alvin and Judith Neelley were featured on another Investigation Discovery program, Wicked Attraction, in the episode "Hearts of Darkness."[10]

Judith, presented as the mastermind of the murder spree, was featured on a third Investigation Discovery program, Deadly Women, in the July 2011 episode "Twisted Thrills."[11]

The Alabama Department of Corrections had listed Judith Ann Neelley as being up for parole in 2014 until the Montgomery Advertiser recently pointed out that the Alabama Legislature passed a law in 2003 designed to make her ineligible for parole.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Alvin Neelley Dies In Prison". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  2. ^ "Inmate Search Results". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  3. ^ a b "Nightrider and Lady Sundown: The Bonnie and Clyde of Georgia". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Judy Neelley - A woman on death row". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  5. ^ "Nightrider and Lady Sundown: The Bonnie and Clyde of Georgia". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Alvin and Judith Ann Neelley". Retrieved 2013-05-28. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Nightrider and Lady Sundown: The Bonnie and Clyde of Georgia". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  8. ^ a b "Judith Ann Neelley no longer eligibile for parole". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  9. ^ "Most Evil : Episode Guide : Investigation Discovery". Archived from the original on 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  10. ^ "Wicked Attraction : Investigation Discovery". Archived from the original on 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  11. ^ "Twisted Thrills". Archived from the original on August 15, 2011.