Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tiffany Cole -- Only Woman On Florida's Death Row


As the last of four people convicted in the kidnapping and murder of Carol and Reggie Sumner, Tiffany Cole is currently the only woman on Florida's Death Row.

Like her co-defendants, Michael Jackson and Alan Wade, she was handed down two death sentences for the double murder. The fourth accomplice, Bruce Nixon, testified for the state against the others, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got a 45-year prison sentence.

During her trial, prosecutors said Cole had been a familiar face to the Sumners. She was a neighbor when the couple lived in South Carolina. Prosecutors called her the linchpin in the murderous scheme because they said she befriended the Sumners and then set them up.

In South Carolina, Cole's father lived four or five houses from the Sumners. Carol Sumner would go to Cole's father's house to help him because he was suffering from cancer. She had no way of knowing that the girl she met at that home would eventually lead her and her husband into a deadly trap.

Cole's father helped her buy a car from the Sumners just as the couple was moving to Jacksonville. That was about the same time that Cole became involved with Michael Jackson.

Jackson traveled to Jacksonville with Cole in the summer of 2005, when she completed paperwork on the car. That's when police believe the plan to rob and kill the Sumners was hatched.

In an interview with Channel 4, Jackson said he and Cole stayed at the Sumners' home in St. Nicholas in the summer of 2005. He said the older couple was nice and welcomed them into their home, but said things got "pretty much nuts after that."

Just weeks after Cole and Jackson stayed at the couple's home, the Sumners were found buried in a shallow grave in Georgia.

During Cole's trial, jurors were shown pictures of the woman along with two her co-defendants celebrating in a limousine with handfuls of cash and a glass of champagne. The jurors also heard an incriminating audio recording of a call Cole and Jackson made to Jacksonville officers claiming to be Carol and Reggie Sumner.

Two of the jurors with whom Channel 4 spoke said what they saw and heard during Cole's trial would in some ways haunt them for the rest of their lives.

"It was really scary. That's all I could think about was why was I picked?" said Jessica Reynolds

She and Mathew Ray were among the 12 people who decided Cole's fate. After only a few hours of deliberations, the jury found her guilty of murdering the Sumners.

"She brought it on herself. I mean, she didn't have to go with these people. She wasn't held against her will," Reynolds said.

"Everybody thought she was guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt," Ray said.

Five months after the jury convicted Cole of double murder and voted 9-to-3 that she should receive the death penalty, a judge sentenced her to death for the murders and life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

Although Cole is currently the only woman sentenced to death in Florida, she is not alone on Death Row. Also there, but no longer facing execution, is Virginia Larzelere, a convicted and sentenced to death in 1993 for the murder of her husband. In 2005, a Volusia County judge overturned the sentence and ordered a new penalty phase.

The last woman put to death in Florida was Aileen Wuornos. As one of the country's few female serial killers, she murdered seven men in Central Florida starting in late 1989 and continuing through 1990. She was executed in 2002.

11 comments:

cathie said...

My brother was sadden by what Tiffany did to his friends. He loved the Sumners.

Anonymous said...

Tiffany Coles deserves what she got.My prayer goes out to the victims family.When i saw what happened i cried it was very sad,and i really hate that happened.

Cathie said...

Tiffany will be exonerated. ........Michael Jackson has assumed ALL responsibility for this unfortunate tragedy and has also found peace with our Lord Almighty ...just as my niece has. Tiffany, Michael and all involved deserve our prayers....I applaud Tiffany and Michael Jacksons testimony. God will shine His face on them both.

Anonymous said...

Cathie,

What a ridiculous thing to say. These two did a heinous thing. Buried two people alive. They were holding hands when they were found.

Are you serious? Applaud the police that try to protect you from these monsters. God won't help them.

Anonymous said...

I was just watching this for the first time on a show called "Your Worst Nightmare" My heart goes out to the Sumners. They did not deserve what happened them. Tiffany was one cold hearted and greedy woman and they trusted her. So sad. The killers are where they belong!

Unknown said...

This hurts so much to know someone good hearted when through this suffering horrid way of dying, id rather be shot in the head, i hope these evil kids go through the same horrid as they die...... god please protect me from evil human demons like the demons that ended the summers life...

Unknown said...

R u kidding me???? U need to get a life.... the buried those people alive... they both deserve to be buried alive... an eye for an eye

Eshirley Yanavok said...

R u kidding me???? U need to get a life.... the buried those people alive... they both deserve to be buried alive... an eye for an eye

zarrius said...


She is detached from reality , she is sociopath , self-centred who stops at nothing to get what she wants. She masterminded this horrific crime by putting the idea in her boyfriend's head. By pretending she is innocent is another lie , she has committed a sin of epic proportion , Her farcical behaviour is an affront to human decency.

zarrius said...


She is detached from reality , she is sociopath , self-centred who stops at nothing to get what she wants. She masterminded this horrific crime by putting the idea in her boyfriend's head. By pretending she is innocent is another lie , she has committed a sin of epic proportion , Her farcical behaviour is an affront to human decency.

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