Friday, February 02, 2007

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

Associated Press:

Tiffany Hall is escorted to her court appearance Thursday in Belleville, Illinois

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. 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.

Woman accused of killing pregnant friend gets new lawyers

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