Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A monster in female form.

Every so often I'll read something that makes me rethink my stance on the death penalty. I'm normally against killing people, believing rightly or wrongly that people ought to pay for their crimes yet remain breathing, and somewhere dimly in the back of my mind I believe we don't have a right to take another life. However in this case I'd just put this woman down.

"Tiffany Hall said she knew she would never get out of an Illinois prison after being sentenced to life for killing a pregnant friend to take her unborn baby."
"I will never get out," Hall said softly after St. Clair County Circuit Judge Milton Wharton asked during the hearing if she understood the magnitude of the sentence, the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat reported."

"In court, Haida recounted the shocking details of the crime that began on Sept. 15, 2006.

Hall struck her friend Jimella Tunstall, 23, on the head repeatedly with a table leg at Hall's mother's house, then cut Tunstall's fetus from her womb in a bathtub. After Tunstall bled to death, Hall dumped her body in an East St. Louis lot, Haida said.

Hours later, Hall told police in Illinois she had been sexually assaulted in St. Louis and given birth to a stillborn child after the attack. When police arrived, she had the dead fetus with her, claiming it was her own. She refused to be examined at a hospital.

Three days later, Hall visited the father of two of Tunstall's children and the unborn child, Haida said. The father treated all the children as his own, and was caring for them, Haida said. Hall lied to the father, saying Tunstall wanted him to let her pick up the children and Tunstall's vehicle, he told police.

"He relayed to the officers that was the last time he saw his three children," Haida said.

Hall then drowned the three children — DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins 2, and Jinella Tunstall, 1 — in the same bathtub where she killed their mother, Haida said.

Authorities said Hall's story began to unravel on Sept. 21, 2006 at the funeral for the fetus, when she told her boyfriend, home on leave from the military, that the baby wasn't his and that she killed a pregnant woman and stole the fetus. He told police.

The bodies of the three children were found two days later hidden in a washer and dryer inside the East St. Louis apartment where the children lived with their mother.

Hall later told authorities that she "had contemplated taking Ms. Tunstall's unborn child for quite some time," Haida said. He said she bought rubbing alcohol, a sharp object and a nasal aspirator a week before the attack.

One of Hall's attorneys, James Gomric, said Hall had been mentally fit to stand trial, but also said she had unresolved mental health issues and tested at an IQ in the mid-70s. After the court proceedings, Gomric said he could not speak to a motive in the case, or discuss if his client had ever shown remorse."



Blogger laughykate said...

I'd like to add two words to your title. 'Fucking' and 'evil'.

8:51 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Morning LK. Honestly, it's a fucked up world sometimes.

8:59 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...


10:05 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I find it hard to believe a sane person would do what she has done and so I'm charitably inclined to credit her with diminished responsibility. Capital punishment for such people is morally wrong, but supervised incarceration for life is a must.

10:21 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Why is it morally wrong Conan? The action was pre-meditated and she intentionally lied afterward. I've no doubt that she is not 'in full control' of her actions, but why is that a mitigating circumstance in an horrific multiple homicide if she has shown no remorse, and is seemingly deemed a danger to others for the rest of her natural life?

10:32 a.m.  
Blogger aquaasho said...

I feel ill now....

10:37 a.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Sane or insane - in any case she's evil. What a horrendous story.

10:46 a.m.  
Anonymous Kath said...

Its funny how a persons state of mind or that of the lord above which always gets the blame for such crimes.

11:01 a.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

In theory, am also against the death penantly, but in this exceptional case, lethal injection, and quickly.

11:04 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Sheepo, I believe capital punishment is wrong. It is certainly morally wrong for someone of low intellectual ability, or someone with diminished mental capacity who has committed a crime. A paranoid schizophrenic with a tendency to violence, for instance, might well act premeditatedly. However, their guilt is a function of their insanity, their lack of reason.

12:01 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

There's no evidence that this woman suffers from paranoia or that she is a schizophrenic. Any thing I've read merely suggest she has a low IQ, that's it.
What there IS evidence for is that she knew to plead guilty and she was perfectly capable of lying and plotting and scheming. Now a woman is slaughtered, three children are dead, a preterm baby is dead, wrenched from her mother's body and a family is destroyed.

12:29 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Having a low IQ is one of the common denominators of people on death row in the US.

12:43 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

True, but having a low IQ doesn't automatically give you a pass for carrying out a heinous crime.

12:54 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

She should be put down. No question about it.

There's no rehabilitating somebody like that, prison is just a waste of money. Kill her.

1:09 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

There is no such thing as a "pass for carrying out a heinous crime". However, an absence of reasoning or mental capacity should have a bearing on the sentence given. As I said above, supervised incarceration for life is a must.

1:09 p.m.  
Anonymous morgor said...

supervised incarceration for life is a waste of time and money.

Just shoot the fuckers. actually save bullets, just throw them off a cliff.

Unless there's cause for doubt of guilt, in which case supervised incarceration until certain.

1:27 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

What is the purpose of the supervised incarceration Conan? Its not exactly an equal punishment for the crime (tho I suppose nothing really is).
I just don't see the point in allowing her to drain american tax-payers money for no discernable reason or positive outcome.

2:14 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

I'm torn about the death penalty, because I understand and can agree with both sides.

However, this woman is clearly batshit. Premeditated or not, these are not the actions of a person with both oars in the water. It's not as simple as knowing right from wrong, or being able to plan and execute. There's a lot more going on here than just a low IQ.

That said - they should let the murdered children's father decide what happens to her. I bet he has some good ideas...

2:23 p.m.  
Anonymous dinogirl said...

I'm with Conan... I think. Part of me wants to rip her eyes out, but Jesus.... you don't DO stuff like this unless you're fucked up in the head.

Sheepy, money isn't a good reason not to do the right thing, you know?

And a lot of this can be blamed on the fact that poor, low-IQ people are basically abandoned by the State. At low-70s, shouldn't you be getting some level of support? Not necessarily assisted living, but major help?

I know, I know, I'm a touchy-feely eejit... I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems like vicious vengeance isn't the right course. The whole story is so impossibly sad. And she was found not guilty by reason of mental incapacity - presumably the court psychiatrists knew what they were doing.

Perhaps a lifetime of incarceration with treatment is worse than death? These places aren't like nice hospitals where middle class people go if they've had a nervous breakdown. They're GRIM. And with treatment, she might someday realise the extent of her crime.

Bah, I am a touchy-feely do-gooder, what do I know?

2:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Mid seventies means she was mildly mentally incapacitated, not incapable of knowing right from wrong. This woman hid her crimes, lied to the police, lied to families, and all round tried to cover her arse. She plead guilty to avoid the death sentence.
If a man had done this I'm willing to bet a lot of us would be howling for his blood.
Sometimes people are just bad people. This seems to be one of those times.

2:42 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Just occurred to me. We sentenced a woman to death in this country in the late fifties for conducting an abortion which resulted in the death of the women who sought it. This was one of the last death sentences passed on a woman in Ireland. The sentence was commuted and she died a couple of years later in the CMH, Dundrum.

2:43 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

This woman had a boyfriend? What the hell was he like?

2:53 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

"Sheepy, money isn't a good reason not to do the right thing, you know?"

I completely agree dinogirl, but why is letting her live (aside from all the religious mumbo-jumbo) the 'right thing'?
It's not vengance - it's simply the most justifiable and expedient option.

Anyone know where she is now?

2:54 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

It doesn't make sense that she plotted to steal a baby and then killed three children.
I don't believe the state should have the ability to kill citizens.
Lock her up for life.

2:57 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

One thing, she was tested and deemed medically AND mentally fit to stan trial. She's not crazy, she used the death of 'her baby' to have her boyfriend released on compassionate leave from the army.
She killed those three children a few days after slaughtering their mother and dumping her body, probably in the vain hope that it would look like the mother had left with them.

3:03 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Don't get me wrong folks - I am generally against the death penalty and am thankful that it is not a (legal) option over here, but open and shut cases like this are the exception.

3:15 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I don't hold with the death penalty. Apart from anything else, this woman should have to live with what she's done. She should never be released from jail. It might make more economic sense to kill her now and it is helluva tempting, but I reckon that economics should not be a factor in deciding the fate of another human being and, although she barely qualifies, she is still a human being.

She is a monstrous woman and should have to live a miserable life in prison thinking every day on why she's there and the lives she took.

I don't think she'll last too long in prison in any case. They'll tear her to pieces in there because she is really the lowest of the low.

5:18 p.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

God, it is heartbreaking to look at these children's faces.

5:19 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Sam, I know.
Those kids were hella cute.

8:07 p.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

jesus wept......he wasn't the only'd horrible and it's evil but still the death penalty is wrong.....if it's wrong when we think clearly then it;s wrong we we feel emotional too....

12:14 a.m.  
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