The case

Tasha Shelby in 2022

Wrongfully convicted on disproven science.

On the 16th of June 2000, Tasha Mercedez Shelby was wrongfully convicted of capital murder. In a courtroom presided over by Judge Robert H. Walker, Tasha was sentenced to life without parole. The jury held that Tasha had killed her two-and-a-half-year-old stepson little Bryan by shaking him to death. The primary evidence the prosecution relied on was the since disproven diagnostic tool Shaken Baby Syndrome (‘SBS’).

Tasha narrowly avoided the death penalty.

In the early hours of May the 30th 1997, Tasha heard a thump coming from Little Bryan’s bedroom. She found him on the floor by his bed seizing and unconscious. She immediately phoned Biloxi Regional Hospital. Tasha then called the child’s father (Big Bryan) asking him to drive them to the hospital. Little Bryan was then later transferred to the University of South Alabama Hospital where he sadly passed away a day later.

Since Tasha’s trial, the medical understanding of SBS has drastically changed. The theory is no longer supported by recent scientific studies and these developments have led many medical experts across the world to change their minds.

One of these experts is medical examiner Dr Riddick. Dr Riddick originally testified in Tasha’s case that little Bryan’s death was due to shaking/non-accidental head trauma. Since 2000, Dr Riddick has changed little Bryan’s death certificate from homicide to accidental death. Dr Riddick now believes Bryan’s death was a result of a cascade of events involving a seizure, a shortfall, and an inability to breathe.

Along with Dr Riddick, many medical experts have since come forward and testified for Tasha’s innocence in post-conviction proceedings. Not only is Tasha’s conviction based on disproven science but her original trial was tainted by unfair conduct.

Little Bryan’s amended death certificate

All of the new medical evidence was put before Judge Roger T. Clark in the 2018 Post-Conviction Relief hearing. Despite this, the judge denied Tasha relief and stated that the medical expert testimonies did not legally qualify as new evidence.

This means that Tasha has been in prison since the age of 22 and remains indefinitely behind bars.

Tasha has been fighting for justice since 2000.

“We need your voice. Voices that are bigger than ones we currently have, so that maybe we can all stand together so I can be heard and justice in my case will finally be served.”

Tasha Shelby, Medium @tashashelby (2020)