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Lem Davis TUGGLE Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: 1971 / 1983
Date of birth: 1952
Victims profile: Shirley Brickey, 17 / Jessie Geneva Havens, 52
Method of murder: Strangulation / Shooting
Location: Smyth County, Virginia, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Virginia on December 12, 1996

United States Court of Appeals
For the Fourth Circuit


opinion 94-4005


In 1983 in Smyth County, VA, Jessie Havens, 52, was raped and murdered by Lem Tuggle after he met her at a dance at an American Legion Hall. He had been paroled just four months earlier for the 1971 strangulation of 17-year-old Shirley Brickey.

Tuggle was also one of six death row inmates who grabbed 13 hostages and bluffed their way out of the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Boydton, Va., with a fake bomb May 31, 1984.


Recaptured Murderer Executed in Virginia

The New York Times

December 16, 1996

A murderer who was one of six death-row inmates to escape from a Virginia prison in 1984 was executed by injection on Thursday night.

The prisoner, Lem Tuggle, 44, was put to death for the 1983 murder of Jessie Geneva Havens, 52. The authorities say he raped and shot her after they met at a dance. The killing took place four months after Mr. Tuggle was paroled in another case. He served half of a 20-year term for murdering a 17-year-old girl, Shirley Brickey, in 1971.

In May 1984, Mr. Tuggle was one of six inmates who used homemade knives and stolen guard uniforms to take 13 prison employees hostage and bluff their way out of the Mecklenburg Correctional Center. Mr. Tuggle was captured with another inmate in Vermont, and all the escapees were caught within three weeks. The other five have since been executed.


Lem Davis Tuggle

In 1984, Lem Davis Tuggle was convicted of capital murder committed during or subsequent to the rape of Jessie Geneva Havens. As recounted by the Virginia Supreme Court on direct appeal, the facts surrounding Havens' murder are:

In the early morning of June 2, 1983, State Trooper R. M. Freeman was dispatched to an area on Interstate Highway 81 in Pulaski County to look for a black pickup truck equipped with a camper. Shortly after his arrival, Freeman stopped a truck meeting that description and recognized Tuggle as the driver. When the trooper asked the defendant if he had been near the Riverside Exxon Station, Tuggle responded: "Yes, I robbed it, the money's in my pocket, the gun's in the truck.

"Thereupon, Freeman took possession of a .25 caliber automatic weapon. (Ballistics tests established that this gun fired the bullet which killed Havens.) While Freeman was taking Tuggle to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, Tuggle volunteered that he was connected with a missing person's report relating to Jessie Havens and said that he would have a "long talk" with Smyth County authorities later.

Later that morning, a Smyth County Sheriff's Office investigator interviewed Tuggle concerning Havens' disappearance. The officer advised Tuggle of his Miranda rights.

Tuggle waived these rights and told the officer that he could find Jessie Havens over a bank at a certain spot on Hubble Hill Road near Seven Mile Ford. When the officer asked the defendant what had happened to Havens, Tuggle responded: "I don't know but she's there."

The defendant then told the officer that he did not want to discuss the matter further until he had spoken to an attorney. He specifically stated: "From past experience, I would like to talk to an attorney. I'll probably tell you the full story later."

Approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 2, the investigator went to the place where Tuggle said Havens would be found. He found Havens' body at the site.

Havens was clad in jeans "down around her knees," a blue and white striped blouse "pulled up to about the armpits," and "black silk panties . . .rolled down some what." A portion of the victim's pantyhose was "sticking out of the top" of her jeans, and one of her legs was out of the pantyhose.

An autopsy revealed that the victim's body had an abrasionand a bruise on the left frontal area of the forehead, a small abrasion on the right frontal area of the forehead, an abrasion on the neck, a bite mark on the lower, inner quadrant of the right breast, a number of small bruises on the upper, inner aspect of the right arm, and a bruise on the right thumband right wrist. Havens also had sustained a large bruise on the upper, inner thigh, bruises on the vaginal vault at the posterior aspect and near the bottom, and a gunshot wound in the chest.

According to the medical examiner, "the bruises of the vagina indicate penetration of the vaginal vault by something, a penis, a finger, an object, something." The medical examiner testified that both the bite mark on the breast andthe bruising around the vagina occurred while Havens was alive.

He also testified that no semen or spermatozoa was found in Havens' vagina, but that semen was found in the rectum, indicating "penetration and ejaculation into the rectum."

A forensic odontologist testified that he examined the bitemark on the victim's right breast. He compared the markwith models of Tuggle's teeth and concluded "with all medical certainty these marks on the body of Ms. Havens were made by the teeth of Mr. Tuggle." He further opined that Havens was alive and moving when she was bitten.



MO: Rape-slayer of women

DISPOSITION: Life term, 1971 (paroled 1983); executed Dec. 12, 1996.



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