2/14/08

Kelly "Turtle" Tibbs and her Chick Posse

Anybody ever hear about Kelly Tibbs? I read about her case years ago and was recently contacted by a friend of hers. I got to thinking about her again. I cant really believe she didnt get the death penalty.

She was a lesbian ring leader in her little town. She and her teenage friends were a little crew of lesbians that hung together and lived together. None had a steady home, all were from broken families somehow torn by substance problems or abuse or just plain neglect.

Kelly was the leader. Her nickname "Turtle" was the name she went by exclusively and all her followers tatooed a tiny turtle on their hands. This group was so odd. They were PeterPans lost boys and Turtle was peter pan. They traveled in packs and found food and lodging when they could. Everything was a game and they frolicked around everywhere they went.

Eventually a new girl came into the mix and began a half-assed relationship with one of the other girls. Emotions flew and she got murdered. Beat to death. Killed for a high school lesbian love affair.

On July 4, 1997, Stacy Hanna came to the City of Richmond from Lynchburg and moved into an apartment on Belmont Avenue, which she shared with Dana Vaughn, Robin Thurkill, Kelly Tibbs, and occasionally Tracy Bitner. Winckler lived nearby and was part of the social circle that included Hanna and her apartment mates. These women were all lesbians. Bitner and Tibbs previously had been romantically involved but had ended the relationship prior to Hanna's arrival in Richmond. Soon after Hanna moved into the Belmont Avenue apartment, she developed a romantic attachment to Tibbs, but Hanna "ended up liking [Tibbs] more than [Tibbs] liked [Hanna]." On July 24, 1997, Tibbs and Winckler had a violent altercation with Hanna, because Tibbs believed Hanna had lied about a romantic relationship between Tibbs and another individual.
On the afternoon of Saturday, July 26, 1997, Vaughn, Hanna, and Tibbs met in the Belmont Avenue apartment with Bitner, Winckler, and Stephanie Cull, another member of Hanna's circle of friends. Winckler, Tibbs, Bitner, and Cull left in Cull's car to pick up Thurkill from her job at a local restaurant. On the way to pick up Thurkill, the women began to complain about Hanna's recent fabrications concerning Tibbs, and they agreed that "they were going to kick [Hanna's] butt, teach her a lesson for lying." Later in the evening, these women, along with Hanna and Vaughn, attended a party at a friend's home, during which Vaughn fell ill. The group left the party in Cull's car. Cull drove the vehicle, while Tibbs and Bitner rode in the front seat; Hanna, Vaughn, and Winckler rode in the back. They proceeded to Marsh Field in Chesterfield County and parked next to a small building. There, all the women exited the car except for Hanna and Vaughn, who continued to feel ill. Tibbs eventually returned to the car and remained with Vaughn while Hanna joined the others, who were standing just a few feet in front of the vehicle. The women had decided to give Hanna a "butt kicking" for lying about Tibbs.
Soon after Hanna exited the vehicle and joined Winckler, Bitner, and Cull, Tibbs also rejoined the group, leaving Vaughn alone in the car. The women walked to the other side of the small building, where Tibbs and Winckler began to hit and kick Hanna. Bitner also joined in the assault. Bitner, Winckler, and Tibbs began to cut Hanna with razor-bladed box cutters. Within minutes, Vaughn observed Hanna's back covered with blood. Vaughn also saw Winckler strike Hanna with a belt and then throw a cinder block on Hanna as she lay on the ground. The assault lasted approximately ten minutes, after which Tibbs, Bitner, Cull, and Winckler returned to the car and drove a "couple [of] miles" away, leaving Hanna at Marsh Field. When the women became concerned that Hanna would report the assault, they returned to Marsh Field. They concluded it was necessary to kill and "get rid of" Hanna.
Upon returning to Marsh Field, Cull told the other women to put Hanna in the trunk of the car because Hanna "was going to get blood everywhere." Winckler and Tibbs did so despite Hanna's pleas to be allowed to ride in the passenger compartment. The women drove away from the scene for a second time, with Hanna striking the interior of the trunk with her hands. In response to Hanna's banging on the trunk, Cull stopped the car; Winckler got out and opened the trunk. Hanna asked to be taken to a telephone so she could call her mother; Winckler said "no," shut the trunk and got back in the car.
The women continued driving and discussed whether they should take Hanna to a hospital. Winckler and Bitner opposed doing so, fearing Hanna would report their actions. Bitner stated that Hanna's "tongue needed to be cut out" so she could not report them; Winckler stated that Hanna's "fingers need[ed] to be cut off" so she could not make a written report. Cull stopped the car along an unidentified back road. All the women except Vaughn got out and opened the trunk for a second time.

By this time, Hanna was "bleeding really bad." Winckler demanded Hanna's rings and watch. Hanna refused at first but finally complied, asking that she be allowed to keep one ring. Winckler refused. During this stop, Cull cut Hanna on the leg with a box cutter and at least one of the women spat on her. After they sealed Hanna in the trunk again, they drove on.
The group finally arrived at Nash Road, where they got Hanna out of the trunk and walked her down the deserted road. Cull cut Hanna on the back with a box cutter, and Hanna fell to the ground. Bitner, Tibbs, and Winckler dragged her approximately 100 yards further and there stopped to remove Hanna's clothes, which belonged to Tibbs. Winckler stabbed Hanna in the chest with a box cutter and held her in the mud while Bitner slit Hanna's throat with another box cutter. Winckler and Bitner returned to the car, Tibbs remaining with Hanna for a few more minutes. Once back at the car, Bitner boasted that she had cut Hanna's throat, stuffed mud in her mouth, and stabbed Hanna "near the heart saying I want your heart bitch, give me your heart, why won't you die." Winckler admitted she stabbed Hanna "over and over again" as well, and Tibbs said she had "stuck a stick" in Hanna's chest. Once the women returned to the car, they left the scene. As they drove away, Winckler announced that if any of them reported what had

just happened, "the same thing could happen to them." The women disposed of Hanna's blood-stained clothes and other evidence in a trash receptacle near Matchpoint Apartments, then returned to the Belmont Avenue apartment and cleaned themselves. Tibbs later told Vaughn that one of them had carved the word "liar" in Hanna's back.
On Sunday, July 27, 1997, City of Richmond and Chesterfield County police officers went to the Belmont Avenue apartment to investigate and later took the women to the Richmond police department for questioning. Chesterfield County Detective Rick Mormando interviewed Winckler and taped her statement. During the interview, Mormando recovered Hanna's watch from Winckler's wrist, and Winckler admitted taking it from Hanna while Hanna was in the trunk of Cull's car. Winckler told Mormando that when she and the other women had opened the trunk for the second time on the previous night, she told Hanna, whom she described as "scared sh--less," to "give me your watch, [and] give me your rings." When asked why she took the watch, Winckler replied, "I don't know. I just liked it." She stated that Hanna was physically incapable of resisting when Winckler demanded the watch and rings. She further stated that Hanna only surrendered the watch and rings because "she was scared sh—-less that [I

was] going to do something else to her." Winckler told Mormando
that she and the other women had already decided to kill Hanna when they drove to Nash Road. She also confessed that she stabbed Hanna in the chest and "tried to push her face in the mud . . . to suffocate her . . . ."
On January 14, 1998, a jury found Winckler guilty of robbery, abduction, and capital murder. The jury fixed her sentence at thirty years incarceration for the robbery conviction, ten years incarceration for the abduction conviction, and death for the capital murder conviction. The trial court set aside the death sentence and imposed a sentence of imprisonment for life on the capital murder conviction.

12 comments:

  1. I am from Richmond Va. I worked with Domica Winckler and her mother, Pam, at Shoney's in Carytown. Pam and I used to work the same shift 11:30-8 and I quit. When I came back Pam was the dining room manager and Mica was a hostess (I think). I dont know what her actual job title was, she was only 14 at the time and because of the law, I think it was chalked up too being 'mom's helper.
    Anyway, Mica was not a lesbian and her mother didnt do drugs. Pam was 14 when she gave birth to Mica so when it came time for Mica to need her mother, her mother was pursuing her own dreams and that sort of thing. Im not speaking down about Pam..she was a hard worker but also very young, she kept the same boyfriend for a really long time and they eventually had a son together.
    I am not defending anyone but I find myself defending Mica in terms of how this story is written. It was not a murder in the commission of a robbery, the opposite is true. She was the lone suspect who got the death penalty. They all and I mean ALL should have gotten death. Including the dumb dumb who sat in the car because she was 'sick'. She wasnt charged with anything, her name was Dana. My opinion, she should have at the very least been charged with accessory either before or after the fact.
    They all got into the car, they all knew exactly what was going to happen. Ergo, they all should have gotten death. One of the girls I think it was Stephanie Cull said she shouldnt get the death penalty because she only stabbed the girl once and kicked her 'no less than 15 times'. Whatever. Who knows which one of those stab wounds or blows was the fatal one. When it came down to it, they all sang like canaries and made it look like Mica perpetuated this whole event when it was originally Tibbs' idea. So yeah Mica got blasphemed because she was black. I will never think otherwise. I write to her from time to time. I dont know how that poor girl can sit in that prison with the very people who helped with this crime, knowing they tried to hang it all on her.

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    1. she got what she deserved i was locked up with her in fluvanna in 2000 and her ass showed no remorse

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  2. i knew kelly years befor "the insedent". she used to sleep on our (my roommate and i) couch when things were to awfull at home for her to return. I remember her as fum, sweet, egear to help us around the house, and frightened of what awated her at home. she was 12 or 13 i think. the last time i saw her, 2 or 3 years later, she was pregnant from her *****. but becouse the father was allso her guardian ending it wasnt posable. my wife and i had her to dinner and she played with our 8 month old son and told us how she wanted to have a child of her own some day. than she cried in my wifes arms as i did the dishes. i hate what she did and know how horable it must have been, but when i think of kelly the scaired funloveing little girl is who i perfer to remember

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  3. Well where do I begin? I actually dated Kelly Tibbs when she found out that she was pregnant. I stayed with her thru it all and was in the delivery room when her daughter was born and cut the cord. When I knew Kelly, she wasn't as bad as she had turned out to be. Her mom was there but out all the time and left Kelly to defend for herself but she was there for the most part. As people thought she wasn't. I know different. Kelly grew up in a weird invoronment but I hung in there with her. I didn't date her long but I was friends with her for a long time. When I found out what she had done, I was astonished and didn't believe it. I went to all their court appearances and they are all as guilty as the other. I think it was wrong that Dominic got the death penalty but as they said they had to give her a fair shake so she got life too. It wasn't that she was pulled into the situation, they were all friends and stood up for each other. They know the word no if they didn't want to be involved. I told Kelly when I saw her in Chesterfield jail that she deserved what she got but she will die in prison. I think they all should have gotten the death penalty. When you can kill someone like they did you deserve what they got but the courts don't see it that way at all. I don't socialize with Kelly anymore. I feel for her daughter out of all of this.

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  4. I have read alot on this story, the main thing that is pissing me off is WHAT ABOUT STACI? she was a person, she did not deserve to die the way she did. I dont give a shit how bad life was for some of these girls, i grew up in the subarbs of philly, wanta talk about a bad life? no excuse for murder, dana, you should have gone to jail as well, they all deserve just what they gave staci, DEATH!

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  5. I know that what happened to Stacy was horrible but I had the opportunity of meeeting all people involved during my three years in prison and actually was a roomate of Stephanie Culls for over a year! These girls made a terrible mistake and they live with it everyday trust me they are haunted which they may deserve that but who are we to judge? I can say these women are making the most of their time and have improved themselves tremendously! Had they had this help previously who knows maybe this would of never happened! The time i spent with these women i seen first hand they are truely not the monsters people are making them out to be!! Even though most of them will spend the rest of their lives in prison i dont know if thats exactly fair given the ages of them at the time of the crime they have made tremendous changes within themselves and I hate to think that they are gonna die in that place! I feel anybody that commits murder has to live with it everyday if they have a conscience and whether or not you believe it these girls do have that!

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  7. It is tragic what happened to Staci Hannah. However, I personally knew and grew up with mica. I know her whole family and mother, Pam. Pam was not involved with drugs or anything like that! She worked a lot to take care if her family. I knew Mica before and during the time she became friends with the girls that all lived in the house on Belmont. I sometimes visited their house with Mica. Actually Mica only knew these girls for a few months. Mica was not romantically involved with these girls. What happened is not in her nature, she was never a vicious person or anything like that. As a matter of my opinion it didn't seem like any of them were capable of doing these crimes. However Mica has a loyal personaility and probably was loyal to her friends at this time when they needed her join in on their beef over the relationship. At least that's my assumption. Growing up in our neighborhood we always stuck by our friends in any situation and that seems to be what happened here. However what was supposed to be a fight turned more violent. I'm sure things got out of hand when emiotions were involved as well as them most likely being scared of the consequences, which lead them to murder. I will say as a witness to the relationship of all of them, Turtle seemed to be more of the ring leader of the circle of friends. I was there at their house on a number of occasions before this and saw the group dynamic. This should have never happened to Staci no matter what so I'm not defending anyone, but trying to shed light on the issue from a personal stand point of knowing them all first hand. On the day this happened, mica called my house from a pay phone after the murder I wasn't home but my mom said she was sounded odd and wanted to come over. I never saw or talked to mica since. I was so shocked! However, I am in touch with her family and ask often how she is doing. This whole thing has been a tragedy. But in reference to the article, Mica was the only black person in the group and in the Richmond court system there are still a lot of racial injustices. Richmond is on the mason dixon line and there is a lot of civial war history that took place there, some of these thoughts and beliefs still exist. I'm white and I saw it personally first hand. Furthermore,
    mica was convicted of capitol murder because she took Staci's watch and rings. While this took place during the crime, I think everyone knows that the original intent of the crime was not to steal or committ robbery. The motive was originally to harm Staci. Had the intent been to committ a robbery and the murder happened as a result of it, I would agree with the capitol murder charge. However robbery was not the intent, thus I think she was unfairly charged with capitol murder. However, while mica was my friend, I still believe that her and the others did this murder and all should be convicted. Although one sat in the car, it seemed that she made no attempts to stop these actions or to get help, so she should get accessory to murder. I sincerely hope that the family of Staci finds peace. I know that these girls are not cold blooded people and they are all living with the consequences of their actions everyday of their lives.

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  8. I personally know all the females who are in prison for this crime. First of all, they are NOT those same people. They are, and will always be paying for what they have done. Tracy, is a funny, witty, smart and such a likeable woman.Kelly,"Turtle", that's my friend. She STILL has nightmares, she can't deal with a lot of day to day things.But she is intelligent and funny, and will do ANYTHING for anyone. Mica, so smart and friendly. Stephanie, loves music,art and religion. i spent many years with them, incarcerated. Everyone knows what they did,yet everyone likes them. Why? Because they are ALL very driven individuals. They are ALL in college classes, model inmates, participates in all kinds of different programs. If you met them, then heard what they were there for...you wouldn't believe it. They aren't low lifes, or sitting in prison doing nothing...they are all doing everything!!! No one can say a bad thing about them. They are the TRUE definition of rehabilitation. Yes,Stacy should absolutely be remembered. Trust me, they remember her everyday. They are trying their best to change a horrible act, by changing themselves, and as far as I'm concerned, they have. So before anyone judges them, or talks shit, get it straight, and take it from those of us who know these beautiful women, they are that,beautiful, inside and out. If you don't know them...don't comment. I love them all in a million different ways. and I wish them the best, and I wish they could all be released NOW. They deserve it. They are different people now.

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  9. First of all, we're any of you there?? I'm glad you can stick up for those that you know but I doubt very seriously that anyone will ever know exactly what happened. Jeri, do you know Dana? Lisa, do you know Dana? Well I do!! Every one of those girls told the police that she was NOT involved and had no clue of what was about to happen. Put yourself in someone else's place!! What would you have done?? I'm sure it's easy to sit on your soapbox and look down in judgement. Had there been evidence and had the girls said that Dana was involved, she would have gone down, too. That's not what happened. All of these girls are paying the price for what they did. This also includes the one that sits in her own prison in her mind wishing she knew what to do and how to stop it. She pays for what she wasn't aware was happening EVERY day. I don't ask that anyone feel sorry for her. All I demand is that your facts are straight and that your opinions are formed in a lucid mind. You know nothing of her therefore you shouldn't even have an opinion on Dana.

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  10. Model inmates and beautiful women that are in college classes...while my FRIEND LAYS IN A BOX ROTTING FOR THE LAST 16 YEARS!!!! Excuse me while I dont share your sick and twisted sympathy for these souless monsters that should have had to suffer the EXACT same FATE that they made my friend suffer!!!

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  11. I have met these women during my incarceration time....and every last one of them are bettering their lives despite their situation....and no one is perfect...and technically our opinions are like butt holes we all have one....so with that being said NOBODY has a heaven or hell to put these women in....the story was totally sad....but who are we to judge?

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