The Daughters that Studied and Killed Together

Sam H Arnold
Photo from memorial page on Facebook

Nikki Whitehead was a 34-year-old mother of twin girls when she was murdered on 13th January 2010. She left behind 16-year-old twin girls, Jasmiyah (Jas) and Tasmiyah (Tas). On the afternoon of her death, her twin girls said they came home to find her dead in the bathroom. She had been beaten with a vase and stabbed. The twins stated that their mother was alive when they left for school.

Forensic crime officers said they believe the crime was a crime of passion. They began investigating both the twins and Whitehead’s boyfriend. When he was cleared through DNA testing. The bite marks on both the girls would implicate them in the murder. Four months after her death the twins were charged.

Early life

Live as a child was not easy for Nikki. She was born in prison whilst her mother served time for drug possession. Nikki was raised by her grandmother, Della Frazier. She said she had a hard time keeping Nikki out of trouble. At seventeen she fell pregnant with the twins. For the next twelve years, the trio would live with Frazier. Although Nikki always dreamed of giving the twins a better life.

When she met 55-year-old, trucker Robert Head she moved the twins away to Conyers, Georgia. The young mom made sure her girls had the advantages that eluded her, putting them in dance and music classes. The girls were straight-A students with hopes of one day going to Harvard. Della Frazier, however, would tell a different story. Frazier said that Whitehead was a sporadic and random presence in her children’s lives.

Family trouble

The twins began to clash with their mother when they started high school. They felt her attempts to establish boundaries was hypocritical, especially with her lifestyle. They resented their mother’s discipline. Soon the rage would boil over, when Nikki took away Tas’s mobile. It was clear that Nikki was losing control.

Conyers Police Officer Myra Scruggs responded to a call from Nikki after yet another blowout. At the time, the twins told the officer they didn’t want to live with their mom. They insisted on moving back with their great-grandmother, where the rules were relaxed.

The girls seemed very innocent, very sweet, but the look in Nikki’s face, she was fearful of those children. She knew that they worked together. — Officer Scruggs.

A couple of hours later, the police who has stayed close, heard screaming coming from the house. When they investigated, this time, they discovered the twins assaulting their mother. The twins were taken into custody and charged. This resulted in family counselling and juvenile court appearances. Frazier was given custody again.

The murder

On 5th January 2010, Whitehead once again regained custody. She would be dead 8 days later. The girls at the time protested the decision, wishing to stay with their great-grandmother. Not that things were better there. Frazier would later report that she had to lock her bedroom door to stop the twins stealing from her.

The court stood firm and ordered them to move back in with their mother on a two-week trial. The week before her death, it was reported that Nikki called police three times due to problems with her “out-of-control” daughters,

Nikki Whitehead was stabbed over 80 times with a kitchen knife, during the twins frenzied attack on her. The force had been so great that her spinal cord was almost severed.

The interview

During the initial victim interview with the twins, the investigators talked about their mother trying to establish her character. The twins stated, their mother was a party animal often staying out late drinking. Both admitted that their relationship with their mother was strained.

It was not this though that started the suspicion of the investigators. It was the fact that both girls failed to take their gloves and coats off during the interview. When investigators asked them to remove the gloves, they discovered the evidence. Both girls had extensive bites and scratches over their hands. They told police they fought with each other.

Police noticed something even more suspicious: the girls’ complete lack of empathy for their dead mother. As they weaved their story, the crime scene investigators uncovered physical evidence yielding valuable clues. In Tas’s bedroom, police found a pair of brown boots that have a significant amount of blood on them. In them, they found a clump of hair. Pulled out of somebody’s head, and wrapped in a napkin, stuffed into the toe of a shoe.

They still needed evidence to disprove the twins version of events. The twins had stated that they were only ten minutes late for the start of school. CCTV showed them entering mid-morning.

The twins were then separated and interviewed separately. They never changed their story, With only circumstantial evidence they were released back to Frazier for four months. The twins returned to their normal life. Whilst the police started to test evidence, watch and wait.

We found items in their closet that had blood on them and so when we were trying to distinguish whose blood, you cannot determine between twins because they have the same DNA — Capt. Dunn.

Justice at last

Dental examinations of Nikki’s teeth would be matched to the bite marks on the girls. Their mother had fought to her last breath and managed to plant enough evidence on her children for them to be convicted. The twins were taken to prison where they awaited trial.

After four years though they surprised everyone by confessing to their crimes.

Jas: “I think I picked up a knife and I stabbed her. … I think I stabbed her in the stomach. … It was multiple times.”

Tas: “I think I had her hands, and Jas, her feet. It’s kind of like a joint effort. She was heavy. We just put her in [the tub]. The water was turned on.”

In January 2014, Tasmiyah pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. On February 7, 2014, one month after her twin, Jasmiyah pleaded guilty and is serving the same sentence. The twins are incarcerated at separate prisons within the Georgia Department of Corrections. Tasmiyah is serving her sentence in Pulaski State Prison and Jasmiyah is serving her sentence in Arrendale State Prison.

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