Melissa Wright goes up for parole again on June 8, 2021. This is her second attempt at parole since her arrest over 19 years ago. If the pa-role board denies Wright a second time, she will complete her entire sentence in 2027.
During her last parole hearing, her 15-year-old daughter, Ashley Smith, addressed the court, asking them to keep her mother in prison. When Ashley was 14-months old, Wright placed her in an oven set to broil head first.
Harm’s Way in Millbrook
This horrific act took place in the family home on a street called Harm’s Way in Millbrook, Alabama, on June 10, 2002. Since then, Ashley suffered third-degree burns and has had surgery after surgery to help her recover. In all, Ashley has had 28 surgeries.
Dad Hears Ashley Screa-ming
On that horrific day, Wright removed the racks from her oven, turned the oven to broil (registering about 600 degrees,) then put 14-month old Ashley inside. Her father, Robert, was outside of the home at the time and heard her screams. He rushed into the home where he found his daughter in the oven and dialed 911.
Wright Gives Police Two Versions of Events
She first said that Ashley fell out of her arms and landed in the oven. The evidence showed that story was false. Later, Wright said she heard voices that told her to put Ashley in the oven.
Wright pleaded guilty to the cri*me and was sentenced to 25-years in prison in 2003
Wright 2016 Parole Hearing: Pa-role Denied
At the 2016 parole hearing, many family members supported early release for Wright, including Ashley’s older sister, Courtney Brenson, and Wright’s brother who told the parole board that his sister could live with him if she was released and assured the court he would make her take her psychiatric medications.
When it was Ashley’s turn to speak, she told the court:
“I think Melissa Should stay in prison a few more years before she gets out. My niece and nephew are about the same ages as me and Courtney when this happened. I honestly do not trust her and I’m afraid for their safety. I can’t imagine anybody being in as much pain as I was in. And now I have a great life thanks to my mom, stepdad, and brothers and sisters. I do not hate Melissa, but I do not love her. I forgave Melissa.”
Ashley is now 21-years-old. After the tragic event, Ashley moved in with her aunt on her father’s side, Rhonda Zaffina. The only scar that remains now is a small line on her back that the family jokingly calls “The Zipper.” The surgeries are now finally over.
Do Not Release Melissa Wright
Parole Board, please keep her locked up. She received a 25-year-sentence, let’s keep it that way. Maybe toss on a few extra years for the hell of it. If I had my =way, anyone who hurts a child would spend the rest of their lives in prison or we’d stir up some Wild Wild West or eye for an eye justice. So sickening how the justice system caters to the cri*minal more often than not!
Thankfully, the justice system listened to Ashley this time and Wright remains behind bars, for now.