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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: Karla Faye Tucker  
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Friday, 30 January, 1998, 11:33 GMT
A crime that shocked America
Karla Faye Tucker was 23 when she committed double murder
Karla Faye Tucker was 23 when she committed double murder
Karla Faye Tucker was only 23 when she committed a crime that shocked America.

A prostitute and drug addict, Tucker and her then-boyfriend, Daniel Ryan Garrett, 38, bludgeoned two people to death. Tucker later claimed that the crimes gave her sexual pleasure.

The crime

It was the early hours of June 13, 1983. Tucker and Garrett had been on a drug binge and went to visit to an acquaintance, Jerry Lynn Dean, in Houston, Texas.

Mr Dean, 27, was later found battered to death. He had suffered horrendous injuries to his neck and chest and his back had been punctured repeatedly by over 20 pickaxe blows.

His companion, 32 year-old Deborah Ruth Thornton was also killed. A three-foot pickaxe was found embedded in her chest.

Tucker did not deny the crime. In fact, Tucker confessed that she was surprised at how long it took them to bludgeon Mr Dean to death.

Later she told police that she experienced an orgasm every time the pickaxe landed, even after the victims were dead.

According to reports, Tucker despised Mr Dean, a cable TV installer, because he had spilled oil on her living-room carpet. She also testified that Mr Dean, who was married to her long-time friend, had destroyed a photo album that contained her only pictures of her late mother.

The aftermath

The police arrested Tucker and Garrett five weeks after the killings.

Garrett's brother, Douglas, and Tucker's sister, Kari, turned them in to the police.

Douglas Garrett, 37, wore a concealed tape recorder at the request of detectives while he discussed the killings with Tucker and his brother.

Ms Tucker, who admitted the killings on tape, was tried only for Mr Dean's death.

Her defence lawyer argued that she was intoxicated and temporarily insane during the crime.

The jury disagreed. After only one hour of deliberation, they found her guilty of first-degree murder.

At the trial, Tucker was the state's leading witness against Garrett who was also found guilty of first-degree murder.

His conviction, however, was later overturned in an appellate court. He died in prison in 1993 while awaiting a new trial.

Links to more Karla Faye Tucker stories are at the foot of the page.


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