Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Spotlight: The Women on Florida’s Death Row

In an ongoing feature, Crime Library will shed a light on the women spending the rest of their lives on death row in prisons across America. 

According to an end-of-year report issued by the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center, Florida leads the U.S. in the number of inmates it sends to death row. In 2012, Florida sentenced 21 people to death. Currently, its death row houses 406 inmates, five of them female. These are the women of Florida’s death row.

Tiffany Cole. Photo: Florida DOC

Tiffany Cole | Age 31 | On Death Row Since Mar. 2008 |  In October 2007, Tiffany Cole was convicted, along with three men, of the kidnapping and first-degree murder of Florida couple Carol and Reggie Sumner, both 61. The Sumners had been neighbors of Tiffany’s in South Carolina, and when they decided to move down to sunny Florida in 2005, Tiffany offered to buy their car. She and her boyfriend, Michael Jackson, drove down to Florida to wrap up the paperwork on the car and, while there, stayed with the Sumners. After their visit was over, Tiffany and boyfriend returned to the Sumner home with two other men, Alan Wade and Bruce Nixon. They forced the Sumners to give up their ATM information, and after scouring the home for valuables, forced the bound and gagged couple into the trunk of a car and drove them across the state line to Georgia. There, they buried the Sumners alive. Tiffany and her co-conspirators were arrested after using the Sumners’ ATM card. Wade and Jackson were sentenced to death by lethal injection as well and remain on Florida’s death row. Nixon was sentenced to 45 years after helping police locate the bodies.

Tiffany Cole is incarcerated at the maximum security Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Ocala. Her inmate number is  J35212. When she was sentenced to death at the age of 26, Tiffany became the only woman on Florida’s death row. Now, she is joined by four others.

 

Emilia Carr. Photo: Florida DOC

Emilia Carr | Age 28 | On Death Row Since Feb. 2011 | In February, 2009, Heather Strong, a 26-year-old food service employee, disappeared. Her remains were found more than a month later, buried in a shallow grave near a storage trailer near Emilia’s mother’s house. According to court records, Emilia, pregnant with the child of Heather’s husband Joshua Fulgham, had lured Heather into the trailer and put a bag over her head and tied her to a chair with duct tape. Heather suffocated to death. While in custody, Emilia gave birth to Joshua’s child, her fourth. At her trial, Emilia’s family testified that she had been traumatized by years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and grandfather. Despite this, a jury convicted her of first degree murder and later voted 7-5 in favor of death by lethal injection. Joshua, who had been estranged from his wife, was arrested after using her credit card. He was tried and also convicted of first-degree murder, but was sentenced to life without parole.

Emilia Carr is the youngest woman on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Ocala. Her inmate number is U24131.

 

Margaret Allen. Photo: Florda DOC.

Margaret Allen | Age 46 | On Death Row Since May 2011 | On February 8, 2005, Margaret Allen, suspicious that her housekeeper and friend Wanda Wright was stealing from her, strangled the woman with a belt after torturing her for hours. According to testimony heard in court, Margaret beat her victim relentlessly and poured chemicals on her face. When Wanda was dead, Margaret buried her near a road with the help of her roommate and nephew, who were convicted for their part. After being found guilty of first-degree felony murder, a jury unanimously recommended the death penalty for Margaret, who sobbed loudly throughout the hearing and denied having committed the crime. Defense attorney Frank Bankowitz claimed that his client suffered from brain damage and was unable to control herself. He also pointed out that cocaine intoxication was listed as one of the contributing causes of death on Wanda’s autopsy report. Margaret herself had had some issues with cocaine, having served a year in prison in 1998 for possession and sale of the drug.

Margaret Allen is living out the rest of her days at the the maximum security Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Ocala.  Her inmate number is 699575.

 

Ana Cardona. Photo: Florida DOC.

Ana Cardona | Age 51 | On Death Row Since July 2011 | In 1990, the body of a 3-year-old child was discovered in the yard of a Miami Beach home. The boy weighed only 18 pounds, and showed signs having been beaten and burned. Because he could not initially be identified, he was given the name “Baby Lollipops” for the shirt he was wearing, decorated with cheerful lollipops. The boy turned out to be Lazaro Figueroa, the son of Ana Cardona. Cardona was sentenced to death in 1992 for his death, but that sentence was overturned because of procedural problems in her first trial. A jury in her retrial heard the prosecution describe Cardona as a cruel woman who abused her child from the day he was born. The defense, and Cardona herself, talked of how in her 21 years in prison, she’s found God and become a person different from the drug addict she was two decades ago. In the end, the jury once again recommended the death penalty.

Ana Cardona is currently in the process of appeals. She is the oldest woman on death row at  Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Ocala.  Her inmate number is 162180. 

 

Tina Brown. Photo: Florida DOC.

Tina Brown | Age 42 | On Death Row Since Oct. 2012 | In March, 2010, 19-year-old Audreanna Zimmerman met a brutal end. She was beaten with a crowbar, hit with a stun gun, and finally set on fire. The young mom died from her injuries two weeks after the incident. What turned into a horrific murder began as an ongoing feud between the victim and 16-year-old Britnee Miller, who lived in the same Pensacola trailer park. According to testimony, the young women were best friends one day, and enemies the next. On the day of the attack, they were enemies, possibly fighting over a man. According to court records, Britnee, her mother Tina Brown, and 27-year-old Heather Lee attacked the young woman together. Tina Brown was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by legal injection. Her daughter pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing. Because she was a minor at the time of the crime, she cannot be sentenced to life. The third woman, Heather Lee, was sentenced to 25 years for second-degree murder.

Tina Brown is the most recent inmate to join the four others on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Ocala.  Her inmate number is 155917.

 

See Also: Women Executed in America

 

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