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Tiffany HALL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Killed her pregnant friend to steal her unborn baby
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: September 2006
Date of arrest: September 21, 2006
Date of birth: March 23, 1982
Victims profile: Her pregnant friend Jimella Tunstall, 23, the unborn child and the victim's three children, DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins 2, and Jinella Tunstall, 1
Method of murder: Bled to death / Drowning
Location: East St. Louis, St. Claire County, Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on June 9, 2008
 
 

 
 
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Guilty plea to killing woman, her fetus and kids

Deal means Tiffany Hall, 26, will avoid execution, serve life without parole

Associated Press

June 9, 2008

A woman pleaded guilty Monday to killing her pregnant friend, the unborn child and the victim's three children in a plea deal that allowed her to avoid the death penalty.

Tiffany Hall, 26, pleaded guilty to all five charges against her — four counts of murder and one count of intentional homicide in the death of the fetus — and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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

Hours later, Hall told police in Illinois she had given birth to a stillborn child. When police arrived, she had the dead fetus with her. 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 was caring for all the children, Haida said. Hall told the father that Tunstall wanted her to pick up the children and Tunstall's vehicle, he told police.

The father told the officers that was the last time he saw his 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.

Story begins to unravel

Authorities said Hall's story began to unravel on Sept. 21, 2006, about a week after Tunstall's death, when she told her boyfriend 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 had lived with their mother.

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

After the hearing, some of Tunstall's relatives said they had already forgiven Hall. Sandra Myers, Jimella Tunstall's mother, said taking one life would not have been justice for losing the lives of others. "I have to forgive her," she said.


Fetus Thief Pleads Guilty, Dodges Death Penalty

By Charles Montaldo - Crime.about.com

June 9, 2008

An Illinois woman facing two death penalty charges for killing her pregnant friend, her unborn child and the victim's three children has entered a guilty plea in a deal that allows her to avoid the death penalty. Tiffany Hall was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hall, 26, pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and one count of intentional homicide, in the death of the unborn child of Jimella Tunstall.

Prosecutors said Hall repeatedly struck the 23-year-old Tunstall over the head with a table leg and then cut the fetus from her womb in a bathtub. Tunstall's autopsy showed that she bled to death.

Hall dumped Tunstall's body in a vacant lot in East St. Louis. A few hours later, Hall told Illinois police that she had given birth to a stillborn child, but she refused to be examined at a hospital.

Drowned the Three Children

Three days later, Hall told the father of Tunstall's children that Tunstall wanted her to pick up the children and Tunstall's car, according to prosecutor Robert Haida. Hall then drowned the three children in the same bathroom where she killed Tunstall. She hid their dead bodies in a washer and dryer in the apartment.

The victims were DeMond Tunstall, 7; Ivan Tunstall-Collins 2; and Jinella Tunstall, 1.

About a week after Tunstall's death, Hall was arrested after she admitted to her boyfriend that she had killed her pregnant friend to steal her unborn baby and the boyfriend contacted police.

James Gomric, an attorney for Hall, told reporters that Hall had been found competent to stand trial, but she had an IQ in the 70s. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that no one who is mentally retarded can be executed.


Multiple murder case may be resolved

By Nicholas J.C. Pistor - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

June 6, 2008

BELLEVILLE -- The case against Tiffany Hall, the East St. Louis woman facing the death penalty for an alleged rampage that killed her best friend, the friend's fetus and three children, could come to an abrupt end on Monday.

A court hearing in the case is set for Monday morning. Robert Haida, the St. Clair County state’s attorney, issued a statement late this afternoon saying there was an "anticipated disposition" in the case.

Friday’s announcement signals that the death penalty may be taken off the table in exchange for a plea deal. Of course, guilty pleas in death penalty cases are rare.

However, Haida would not comment on the case outside of his written statement.

In 2006, authorities allege, Hall beat the pregnant Jimella Tunstall over the head and used scissors to cut her fetus from her womb. She then left the mother of three to bleed to death in a bathtub, wrapped her in a shower curtain and dropped her in a weeded East St. Louis lot.

Several days later, Hall allegedly drowned Tunstall’s three children in the same bathtub, one by one.

"It’s time to take a bath," Hall called out to the children before the killings, according to police.

The slain children, who were stuffed into the washer and dryer of Tunstall's home, were DeMond Tunstall, 7; Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2; and 10-month-old Jinella Tunstall. Hall was their baby sitter and was supposed to be their mother’s best friend.

James Gomric, Hall’s defense attorney, declined to comment on the case today.


Tiffany Hall Faces 2nd Death Penalty Charge

By Charles Montaldo - Crime.about.com

August 17, 2007

An Illinois woman who already faced the death penalty for the murder of Jimella Tunstall and her unborn baby is now facing another death penalty trial for the murder of Tunstall's three children. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Tiffany Hall, who is accused of drugging the three children with cough syrup, drowning them and putting them into a washer and dryer.

Hall, 25, was already facing the death penalty for hitting Tunstall over the head in September 2006, using scissors to cut the fetus from her womb, wrapping her in a shower curtain and dumping her body in a vacant lot.

Investigators say Hall was Tunstall's best friend and her children's babysitter. Several days after killing Tunstall, Hall told the children it was time to take a bath and drowned them one at a time in the same bathtub.

According to court records, Hall tried to claim Tunstall's dead fetus was her own child and made funeral arrangements for the baby. Her boyfriend came home from the Navy to attend the services. It was then Hall told her boyfriend that the baby was not hers.

The boyfriend told police, setting off an investigation that turned up the body of Tunstall and later the bodies of the three children in Tunstall's clothes washer and dryer.

A grand jury indicted Hall in October for the murder of Tunstall and her fetus. She was indicted in April for the deaths of DeMond Tunstall, 7; Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2; and Jinella Tunstall, 10 months. Prosecutors delayed the indictment for the murder of the children in order to collect more evidence.


Babysitter Charged With Drowning 3 Kids in Bathtub, Hiding Them in Washing Machine

FoxNews.com

Friday, April 20, 2007

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A baby sitter already accused of killing a pregnant friend was charged Friday with drowning the woman's three children in a bath tub and then hiding the bodies in the family's washing machine and dryer.

Grand jurors indicted Tiffany Hall, 24, on three counts of first-degree murder in the East St. Louis deaths last September of DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2, and Jinela Tunstall, 1.

Hall admitted she drowned Ivan Tunstall-Collins and Jinela Tunstall, then found their brother, DeMond Tunstall, Illinois State Police investigator David Bivens testified during a coroner's inquest last week.

"She told DeMond it was time to take a bath, and she drowned him, too," Bivens said.

A coroner's jury ruled the deaths of the children, their mother, Jimella Tunstall, and her fetus to be homicides.

Hall, already charged in the deaths of Tunstall and her fetus, could face the death penalty if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty in those deaths and remained jailed Friday on $5 million bond.

During the coroner's inquest last week, Bivens testified that Hall admitted beating the pregnant Tunstall over the head with a table leg, then cutting her fetus from the womb in a bathtub, where she later drowned Tunstall's three children.

"The senseless taking of the lives of defenseless children must be answered with appropriate punishment," St. Clair County's State's Attorney Robert Haida said Friday.


Panel rules homicide in fetus slaying

By Jim Suhr, Associated Press Writer - USAToday.com

April 11, 2007

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A baby sitter charged with murder clubbed a pregnant woman in the head repeatedly with a table leg, then cut her fetus from the womb in a bathtub where she later drowned the victim's three young children, an investigator testified Wednesday.

The grisly details in the September slayings of Jimella Tunstall and her family were revealed at a hearing where a coroner's jury, after a few minutes of deliberations, concluded the deaths were homicides.

Tiffany Hall, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder and faces a possible death sentence in the death of Tunstall and with intentional homicide of an unborn child — Tunstall's 7-month-old fetus.

She has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed on $5 million bond. She has not been charged in the drownings of the children, ages 7, 2 and 1, although authorities have said she confessed and led them to the bodies. Prosecutor Robert Haida has said those deaths eventually will be presented to a grand jury for possible charges.

Illinois State Police investigator David Bivens told the coroner's jury that Hall "had been thinking about taking the baby for some time" from Tunstall before going through with it.

Bivens said Hall confessed on videotape that she hit Tunstall twice over the head with a table leg in Hall's mother's East St. Louis house Sept. 15, then bound the woman's hands and feet with duct tape.

When Tunstall tried to wriggle free, Bivens said, Hall hit her again and taped the woman's mouth shut before apparently dragging the unconscious woman to the bathtub. Hall used a scissor-like implement to cut open the woman's womb and remove the fetus, Bivens said. The coroner's jury ruled Tunstall bled to death.

The body of Tunstall was first hidden by Hall in a plastic container in the basement, then dragged outside into high weeds behind the house where it was found, Bivens said.

Later that day, Bivens said, Hall summoned police to an East St. Louis park — just blocks from where Tunstall's body later was found — saying she had given birth to a stillborn child after she said she had been sexually attacked in St. Louis.

At a hospital, Bivens said, Hall refused to let doctors examine her.

Tunstall's body had not been found by Sept. 18, when her children were last seen alive with Hall.

According to Bivens, Hall admitted she drowned 2-year-old Ivan Tunstall-Collins and 1-year-old Jinela Tunstall in the same bathtub where their mother had been slain, then found their 7-year-old brother, DeMond Tunstall.

"She told DeMond it was time to take a bath, and she drowned him, too," Bivens said.

During the baby's Sept. 21 funeral, Bivens testified, Hall confessed to her boyfriend that the baby wasn't his and that she had killed the mother to get it. The boyfriend notified police, who found Tunstall's body and arrested Hall.

The bodies of the children were found in the washer and dryer of Tunstall's apartment, after Hall reportedly directed police there. They had searched the apartment earlier but did not look in the washer and dryer.

A relative of Tunstall's told reporters through tears after Bivens' testimony that she feels sorry for Hall and does not believe the death penalty should be in play.

"I just think she should be in prison the rest of her life to think about what she did," said Regina Kizer, a cousin of Tunstall's. "God's gonna have the upper hand."

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday with James Gomric, one of Hall's attorneys. Hall was not in the courtroom Wednesday.


Death Penalty Sought in Fetus Theft

By Jim Suhr, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, February 01, 2007

BELLEVILLE, Ill. —  A prosecutor said Thursday he will seek the death penalty against a woman accused of cutting a fetus from a friend's womb, killing both.

Authorities say Tiffany Hall, 24, also confessed to killing her friend's three children, and St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida said he is preparing a case on those deaths for a grand jury.

Hall is charged with first-degree murder in the September death of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall and of intentional homicide of an unborn child _ Tunstall's fetus, which was at 7 months' gestation. Authorities have not publicly discussed a motive, and Hall has pleaded not guilty.

Tunstall's children _ ages 7, 2 and 1 _ were drowned and their bodies found in a washer and dryer at their family's apartment in East St. Louis two days after their mother's body turned up in a weedy lot. Hall has not been charged in those deaths.

Haida wouldn't say exactly when he plans to present the drownings case to the grand jury. He has declined publicly to name Hall as a suspect in those deaths.

But investigators have said Hall, who used to baby-sit for the children, admitted to drowning them.

In the killings of Tunstall and her fetus, Haida called the death penalty "the appropriate course of action." The slayings, he said, were "cold, calculated and premeditated."

"Any time you're talking about the ultimate punishment, it's something we take very seriously," Haida said.

Illinois executions have been at a standstill since 2000, when then-Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on capital punishment. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has kept the moratorium in place.

(SUBS graf 6 to correct that investigators have said Hall admitted to drowning children, sted Haida said.)


Woman Charged in Murder of Mother, Fetus

By Charles Montaldo - Crime.about.com

September 25, 2006

A 24-year-old Illinois woman was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the deaths of her pregnant friend and the unborn child police believe that she cut from the slain woman's womb. Late Saturday, authorities found the bodies of the slain mother's three other children in a washer and dryer in a housing project apartment.

Tiffany Hall was charged with the death of her long-time friend, Jimella Tunstall, 23. The two grew up together and attended the same schools. Hall frequently baby-sat Tunstall's children, relatives said.

Police first became involved in the case when Hall told police in Frank Holten Park in East St. Louis that she had gone into labor and gave birth to a stillborn child. At the hospital, the baby showed now signs of trauma and Hall would not let doctors examine her. A later autopsy failed to determine a cause of death for the baby.

A funeral was held for the baby Thursday at which Hall confessed to her boyfriend that she had killed the baby's mother. She was arrested after he reported the confession to police.

An autopsy of Tunstall revealed that she bled to death from a abdominal wound caused by what the coroner believed was scissors. Investigators believe that the seven-months-pregnant Tunstall was knocked unconscious before her fetus was removed from her womb.

The arrest of Hall prompted an intensive search for Tunstall's other children -- DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2, and Jinela Tunstall, 1 -- who were last seen with Tiffany Hall.

Two days after beginning the citywide search for the missing children, police received a tip and found their bodies at the John DeShields public housing complex.

Hall is being held on $5 million bail. No one has been charged yet in the deaths of the three children.

UPDATE: Authorities said that Tiffany Hall has confessed to drowning the three children of her best friend Jimella Tunstall, returning them to their apartment complex and hiding their bodies in a washer and dryer. An autopsy confirmed the children were drowned.


Kids of woman slain in fetus theft found dead

3 children went missing after mom, fetus found slain; baby sitter charged

Msnbc.msn.com

September 24, 2006

Three young children were found dead Saturday, hours after a woman was charged with killing their pregnant mother and her fetus in a grisly attack in which her womb was cut open, authorities said.

The two boys, ages 7 and 2, and their 1-year-old sister were found together in an apartment in the East St. Louis public housing complex where their mother lived, Illinois State Police Capt. Craig Koehler said.

The kids were last seen Monday with family friend Tiffany Hall, 24, now charged with first-degree murder in the death of their mother. Hall is also charged with intentional homicide of an unborn child, said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Robert Haida.

Not charged in kids’ deaths

Koehler declined to say whether Hall was suspected in the children’s deaths. The cause of their deaths had not been determined and autopsies would be performed Sunday, he said.

The body of their mother, Jimella Tunstall, 23, was found last week in a weedy East St. Louis lot.

An autopsy showed Tunstall bled to death after sustaining an abdominal wound caused by a sharp object, believed to be scissors, said Ace Hart, a deputy St. Clair County coroner.

Hart said he believes Tunstall, who was seven months pregnant, was knocked unconscious before her fetus was removed during a slaying he called “very graphic and very brutal."

‘A very emotional time’

Hall, jailed on $5 million bond, will likely be arraigned Monday on the two charges, each carrying a 20 to 60 years or life in prison, Haida said. The murder count could be punishable by the death penalty.

The bodies of DeMond Tunstall, 7, Ivan Tunstall-Collins, 2, and Jinela Tunstall, 1, were found in an apartment at the John DeShields public housing complex.

Authorities said a lead directed them to check the apartment, which had not been searched previously. They declined to release more information.

“Anytime you have three deceased children, it’s a very emotional time,” Koehler said late Saturday as he fought back tears. “All these investigators have worked tirelessly with one outcome in mind — to find these children alive."

Officials suspect Tunstall was slain on or about Sept. 15, Haida said.

The same day, Hall summoned police to the Frank Holten park, saying she had gone into labor, Hart said. The dead baby, taken to a hospital, showed no signs of trauma, and an autopsy the next day failed to pinpoint a cause of death, he said.

Conflicting stories about baby

Hall would not let doctors at the hospital examine her and offered conflicting reasons for why she went into labor, alternately saying she had consensual sex and was raped, Hart said.

Authorities say Hall acknowledged to her boyfriend during the baby’s funeral Thursday that the child wasn’t his, and that she had killed the mother to get it. The boyfriend, reportedly a sailor home on leave, told police, who arrested his girlfriend hours later, investigators said.

DNA tests should determine definitively whether the baby was the one Tunstall was carrying, Hart said.

The baby was buried Thursday as Taylor Horn after a funeral arranged by L. King Funeral Chapel, whose president said Hall called minutes after the service was to start, asking if she could reschedule for a different day so more relatives could attend. At the time, Levi King said, only two relatives were there.

The woman showed up two hours late, ultimately signing an affidavit for the funeral home stating that the child was hers, King said.

The East St. Louis case is the second recent case in the area involving babies.

Shannon Torrez, 36, of Lonedell, Mo. — south of St. Louis, about an hour’s drive from here — is accused of slashing a young mother’s throat and kidnapping her baby on Sept. 15. The baby was returned unharmed Tuesday, the same day Torrez was arrested.

Also in Missouri, Lisa Montgomery will stand trial April 30 on charges of snatching a baby from the womb of Bobbie Jo Stinnett at her Skidmore, Mo., home in 2004. The baby survived.


Police Charge Illinois Woman With Killing Mother, Cutting Out Her Fetus

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill.  —  A woman was charged Saturday in the deaths of a pregnant friend and the fetus authorities believe she cut out from the slain woman's womb after knocking the victim unconscious.

Tiffany Hall, 24, was charged as authorities implored the public for help in their search for the victim's two sons, ages 7 and 2, and 1-year-old daughter. Authorities say they were last seen with Hall on Monday, three days before she was taken into custody.

Hall, who was jailed on $5 million bond, faces charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall, said St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida.

Relatives of both women told media outlets the two grew up together and attended alternative schools. The woman in custody often baby-sat Tunstall's children, and Tunstall never expressed worry about leaving them in her care, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

An autopsy showed Tunstall bled to death after sustaining an abdominal wound caused by a sharp object, believed to be scissors, said Ace Hart, a deputy St. Clair County coroner.

Hart said he believes Tunstall was knocked unconscious before her baby, seven months into gestation, was removed during a slaying he called "very graphic and very brutal."

Officials were optimistic about the prospects of finding the children unharmed. Illinois State Police Capt. Craig Koehler said authorities will not end the search until the children are found.

"We have no evidence that leads us to believe they're dead," he said, adding two or three additional sites will be searched in and around East St. Louis on Sunday.

"These children are from East St. Louis," said Police Chief James Mister. "They know how to survive."

Koehler and Mister refused to publicly discuss the evidence or possible statements Hall has made to investigators. Authorities have also refused to reveal how the women knew each other, or whether Hall's alleged confession came before Tunstall's body was found.

Hall will likely be arraigned Monday on the charges, each carrying a 20 to 60 years or life in prison, Haida said. The murder count could be punishable by the death penalty.

"It's way too early to talk about that," Haida said. "Obviously, it's a very devastating situation for the families, but we're hopeful for a positive outcome in the return of the three children."

The charges came a day after a meticulous scouring of the 1,100-acre Frank Holten State Park, just blocks from where Tunstall's body was found. Investigators would not say what led them to believe the children were there.

Officials suspect Tunstall was slain on or about Sept. 15, Haida said.

The same day, Hall summoned police to the Frank Holten park, saying she had gone into labor, Hart said. The dead baby, taken to a hospital, showed no signs of trauma, and an autopsy the next day failed to pinpoint a cause of death, he said.

Hall would not let doctors at the hospital examine her and offered conflicting reasons for why she went into labor, alternately saying she had consensual sex and was raped, Hart said.

Authorities say Hall acknowledged to her boyfriend during the baby's funeral Thursday that the child wasn't his, and that she killed the mother. The boyfriend told police, who arrested his girlfriend hours later, investigators said.

DNA tests should determine definitively whether the baby was the one Tunstall was carrying, Hart said.

The baby was buried Thursday as Taylor Horn after a funeral arranged by L. King Funeral Chapel, whose president said Hall called minutes after the service was to start, asking if she could reschedule for a different day so more relatives could attend. At the time, Levi King said, only two relatives were there.

The woman showed up two hours late, ultimately signing an affidavit for the funeral home stating that the child was hers, King said.

The East St. Louis case is the second recent case in the area involving babies.

Shannon Torrez, 36, of Lonedell, Mo. — south of St. Louis, about an hour's drive from here — is accused of slashing a young mother's throat and kidnapping her baby on Sept. 15. The baby was returned unharmed Tuesday, the same day Torrez was arrested.

Also in Missouri, Lisa Montgomery will stand trial April 30 on charges of snatching a baby from the womb of Bobbie Jo Stinnett at her Skidmore, Mo., home in 2004. The baby survived.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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