Carol and Reggie Sumner had been amazing, salt of the earth type people. They’d loved one another as teenagers in the ‘50’s, but eventually went their separate ways. While Reggie joined the military, Carol had married twice. Her second husband had been a cruel man who’d actually done his very best to end her life; in February of 1987 the man shot Carol several times before turning the weapon on himself. Carol had no intention of ever finding love again, but Cupid had other plans.
One day in 2000 Reggie placed a fateful telephone call to the cable company where Carol had been employed; four decades after they’d lost touch the couple had fallen desperately in love, and they’d wed. The marriage had been a happy, loving one; the Sumners had been super affectionate towards one another, it was like they were teenagers all over again. These beautiful people should’ve been permitted to spend the rest of their natural lives together, after having gone through so much and finally finding one another again, but it was their genuine goodness which ultimately attracted the people who would cruelly put an end to their lives.
Carol and Reggie has been such kind people, and they’d dearly loved 24 year old Tiffany Cole. While growing up in South Carolina, Tiffany had been their neighbor; the Sumners had been close to the girl’s father, and after he passed away the couple had gone above and beyond to help Tiffany in every possible way. The older couple had practically taken this girl in as one of their own.
Carol had been fighting liver cancer and Reggie not in the best of health either, so in June of 2005, when they were both 61, the Sumners moved down to Jacksonville, Florida to live out the rest of their days in their own sunny paradise. Tiffany had been in need of a vehicle, so in another effort to help the young girl out in her father’s absence the couple had offered to sell her their car for next to nothing. Tiffany happily agreed. She and her boyfriend, Michael Jackson, promptly traveled to Florida in order to fill out some paperwork the car; they’d stayed with the Sumners while in town. During the visit, the older couple had made the mistake of mentioning that they’d earned a pretty penny for the sale of their home up north. Tiffany and Michael wanted that cash, so they went back home to South Carolina and thought up a plan.
The following month, Tiffany, Michael, and two of their friends, Alan Wade and Bruce Nixon, traveled back down to Florida. Carol and Reggie had been eating dinner when Alan and Bruce knocked on their front door, they’d claimed to be having car trouble and asked to use the couple’s telephone. The Sumners hadn’t been the type to ever turn down anyone in need, so without thinking twice they’d welcomed the two strange young men into the home. Once inside the attackers held the Sumners hostage with what had appeared to have been a real gun – it wasn’t, but sadly the older couple couldn’t have known that. Their captors used duct tape to gag and bind the couple, and forced them into the trunk of their own Lincoln Town Car while the Sumner home was ransacked. They stole the couples ATM card and had choked Reggie out until they finally gave up their PIN number.
From here Alan and Bruce drove the older couple to a predetermined spot in Georgia; Tiffany and Michael had followed suit in another car with a plan to purposely do something to get themselves pulled over if police got too close to the Sumner vehicle. The blindfolded couple, who had never purposely done anything to harm anyone, were thrown into a shallow grave which had been dug ahead of time. Yes, these gentle people were buried alive; somehow Reggie had managed to free his hands, and he’d held his wife as they took their final breaths.
It hadn’t taken long for the Sumners to be reported missing. Thankfully the killers hadn’t been too bright, they’d quickly pawned all of their victims belongings. The four had spent about $1,000 with their stolen ATM card; they’d partied, charged a limo and expensive liquor, and rented hotel rooms in South Carolina with it. This activity made it very easy for investigators to track their suspects down, and three of the killers were arrested at said hotel.
After his arrests, Bruce agreed to lead police to the Sumners corpses and to testify against Tiffany, Michael, and Alan in exchange of lesser charges. While Bruce was sentenced to 45 years incarceration, his three partners in crime were each sentenced to death.
Tiffany is currently doing her best to have her death sentence commuted. She claims that her lawyer had not represented her properly. She also says that, while she absolutely had been present during the heinous crime, she’s not actually guilty of first-degree murder because she didn’t personally kill the Sumners; Tiffany expects everyone to believe that she had thought that the six foot grave which her three buddies had dug earlier was not meant to be a grave at all but just a spot to hide all of their stolen goods! The killer has stated that she did not physically “bury the bodies” therefore she’s not guilty – and it does appear that she will be getting a new sentencing hearing. Since the jury which heard her case had not unanimously voted for the death penalty, it had been a 9-3 vote, her life will likely be spared. I’ll keep an eye out on this case, and promise to update.