Couple Rob Disabled Elderly Couple; Bury Them Alive
Tiffany Cole was sent to death row
Tiffany Cole and her boyfriend, Michael Jackson, and two accomplices robbed a couple with whom she was acquainted, stealing cash and jewelry from them. They tied up 61-year-old Reggie and Carol, who both suffered from debilitating health conditions, duct-taped their mouths, and then stuffed them into the trunk of their car.
After forcing Reggie to retrieve money from the ATM, Tiffany and Michael buried the couple alive.
Tiffany Cole was neighbors with 61-year-old Reggie and Carol Sumner, a disabled couple with whom she knew well. When the Sumner’s relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2005, Cole purchased a car from the couple, agreeing to make payments each month.
Both Reggie and Carol were in poor health, each stricken with a range of health conditions, including hepatitis and cancer. That did not weigh on Tiffany Cole’s black heart one bit.
Cole and her boyfriend, Michael Jackson, were in Jacksonville finishing up paperwork on the car when the Sumner’s allowed the couple to stay at their home while visiting. Tiffany and Michael hatched a plan while staying in the home, although Jackson is the alleged mastermind.
The couple left the home that day but planned a return trip very soon.
Group Gain Entry Inside Home
The next month, Cole, Jackson and two friends, Bruce Nixon and Alan Wade, drove to the Sumner home, asking to borrow the telephone. Nixon nor Wade knew the Sumner's. When Cole knocked on the door, Carol let them come inside.
Once inside, the group blindfolded the Sumners, then bound and gagged them with duct tape. The group then put the couple into the trunk of their own vehicle. With the couple out of the house, Cole and her three accomplices ransacked the home searching for valuables before demanding the PIN from the couple’s bank card. They drove to a secluded area where they had earlier dug a shallow grave and tossed Reggie and Carol inside. The group then covered the grave with dirt and left the area.
The four obtained over $1,000 from the ATM and pawned jewelry and other items stolen from the Sumner’s home.
When the Sumner’s daughter could not reach her parents by phone for two days, she called the police.
Police Track Cole, Jackson to Hotel
Police eventually tracked Cole and Jackson down a week later in a South Carolina hotel using ATM records. They were arrested along with their friends. Nixon took police to the bodies where police found Mr. Sumner had untied his arms and held his wife.
Among the evidence presented at trial were photos of Cole and Jackson drinking champagne in the back of a limousine to celebrate the murder and robbery.
Cole, Jackson, and Wade were all sentenced to death. It took the jury under 90 minutes to convict Cole of first-degree murder. Nixon testified against the other three and led police to the bodies, resulting in a sentence of 45-years in prison.
Cole is currently incarcerated on death row at the Lowell Correctional Institution Annex. She is one of four women on Florida’s death row.
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