World Day Against the Death Penalty – WOMEN on Death Row – Part 1: Lisa Jo Chamberlin, Mississippi (USA)

WOMEN sentenced to death:
An invisble reality

On October 10, 2021, the 19th World Day Against the Death Penalty will be dedicated to women,

who are at risk of being sentenced to death ,

who have received a death sentence ,

who have been executed, and

those whose death sentence has been commuted or overturned for innocence.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin is 49 years old and was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2006 along with Roger Lee Gillett (the accomplice) for the murder of Linda Heintzelman and her boyfriend Vernon Hulett. Their request for appeal was finally denied by the Supreme Court. Whereas, the co-perpetrator’s sentence was commuted to life without possibility of appeal.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin – a woman without a past and without a future. Her whole life is reduced in the media to this single, indisputably cruel act.

This drama is even addressed by the Discovery Channel twice in a documentary series “Investigation Discovery”, in the episodes “Deadly Women” and “Wicked Attraction”. A woman is made into a monster, her life into a show. One would have the impression that Lisa Jo had already passed away in 2006, right after the verdict was announced, because since then there is no trace of her further life in the media.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin , however, is so much more. She is a woman with feelings, desires and dreams. She has interests and needs. She shared with us that she wants to write a newsletter for women on death row because she is the only woman on death row in her state.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin has a voice that she would like to share with us by writing the following:

Pros and Cons –
does the Good outweigh the Bad or does it Balance the Scales of Justice

By Lisa “Jo” Chamberlin (48) – on Death Row Mississippi since 2006

My name is Lisa “Jo” and the worst part for myself about being on death row is not being able to choose anything about my own life.

Yes, I choose how I respond, what I read or if I want a tray or not. But what about classes, what about doing all I can, or have to become a functioning inmate.

What about deciding the kind of people you surround yourself with or fiving each other’s hair, putting make up on together or being able to share a photo with another.

This is the loneliest place I have ever been. Sometimes I feel like I’ll grab any crumb offered, because I yearn for peers & friends, a church family.

To hug my child and granddaughter. To be able to talk on the phone, but can’t because of the burden of money, having to ask for money rather than earn it.

These are many of my woes of being a female on death row. The only one in Mississippi.

These are the best parts for myself being on death row: I have learned how to be grateful for small things. How to respect those in authority.

I have a relationship with God and am learning to depend on Him instead of the world.

I realize how important life is and why it is important. I have been able to work through much of my brokenness and see my greatness through God’s view, not humans.

I have been beaten down and learned how to get back up sober, rationally and not run away. The value of relationships, the value of a picture or even a pack of salt.

The joy of kind words, forgiveness. But above all else I have become the woman God called me to be and this situation is what it has taken.

The only change I would make is that lives didn’t have to be lost.

Lisa “Jo”

Lisa Jo Chamberlin is looking for pen pals through our website, as are several other women in U.S. death row in Arizona (Sammantha U.), California (Tanya N.) and North Carolina (Carlette P.)

Elzbieta Marek
German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty


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