Alvin and Judith Neelley

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Alvin Neelley
Born Alvin Howard Neelley, Jr.
(1953-07-15)July 15, 1953
Trion, Georgia, United States
Died October 21, 2005(2005-10-21) (aged 52)
Milledgeville, Georgia, United States
Cause of death Surgical complication
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
Spouse(s) Judith Neelley (m. 1980; his death 2005)
Children 3
Conviction(s) murder and aggravated assault
Victims 2
Span of crimes
Country United States
State(s) Georgia
Date apprehended
October 14, 1982
Imprisoned at Bostick State Prison, Hardwick, Baldwin County, Georgia
Judith Neelley
Born Judith Ann Adams
(1964-06-07) June 7, 1964 (age 54)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States
Criminal penalty Death commuted to life in prison
Spouse(s) Alvin Neelley (m. 1980; his death 2005)
Children 3
Conviction(s) murder
Victims 2
Span of crimes
Country United States
State(s) Georgia
Date apprehended
October 9, 1982
Imprisoned at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, Wetumpka, Alabama

Alvin Howard Neelley, Jr. (July 15, 1953 – October 21, 2005) and Judith Ann Adams Neelley (born June 7, 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 in 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 28, 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. 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, judge Randall Cole sentenced the 18-year-old mother of three to death in Alabama's electric chair.[7]

After conviction for the Millican murder, Judith pleaded guilty to Janice Chatman's murder.


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

At 18-years-old, double murderer Judith Neelley became the youngest woman sentenced to death in the United States. She was placed 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 departing (January 18) governor Fob James commuted her death sentence, changing it to life in prison with a possibility of parole in another 15 years (thus, a minimum of 31 years in prison).[7][8] The decision was met with controversy, but Gov. James – long known for his "tough" position on crime and criminals – cited how Judith's jury had recommended life in prison, but the judge sentenced her to death. Judith would have been eligible for parole in January 2014, at age 49, but the Alabama Legislature passed a law in 2003 that made her ineligible for parole.[7][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. This was changed when the Montgomery Advertiser noted the 2003 law making 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". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  7. ^ a b c "Nightrider and Lady Sundown: The Bonnie and Clyde of Georgia". Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  8. ^ a b c "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.