Warning: the following contains details of family violence that may be distressing. If you or someone you know is dealing with family violence, support is available. Please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Jasmiyah Whitehead ran toward the road screaming, waving her arms at the police car that happened to be driving past her home in Conyers, Georgia. She told the Deputy that she and her identical twin sister, Tasmiyah, had come home from school to find their mother dead, submerged in their bathtub.
Jarmecca “Nikki” Whitehead, 34, had been beaten and stabbed 80 times with a kitchen knife. The house, in which she lived with her 16-year-old girls and her boyfriend, told of her violent end. There were blood stains on the carpet, on the walls, drag marks between the living room and bathroom.
“It was the bloodiest scene I think I’ve ever been to,” Lt. Chris Moon of the Conyers Police Department later told NBC.
As investigators descended on the crime scene that afternoon — January 13, 2010 — the girls were taken away from the horror to the local police station. On the way, Tasmiyah began biting her arm. A nervous habit, she told querying officers, just something she’d do when she was upset.
A short time later, safe in an interrogation room, they were consoled by detectives.
“These two girls were hugging each other in each other’s arms, and when I said, ‘What can I do to make this easier for you?'” Det. Ken Swift told True Crime Daily. “They turned and looked at me and they said ‘Can we watch CSI?’
“Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. Essentially it was right then that it was like, OK, this is— something was very, very off.”
“They seemed very innocent and sweet.”
Nikki was 17 when she gave birth to Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah — or Jas and Tas, as they were known. The girls spent their childhood in the care of their great-grandmother, Della Frazier, before Nikki took custody when they were 13 and moved them to Conyers.
They were Girl Scouts and honour-roll students, but once in high-school they rebelled against their mother’s discipline. According to Rockdale News, a court was later told that Nikki believed the girls were sexually active, using marijuana and skipping school: “The girls, on the other hand, were resentful of their mother’s attitude to them,” County District Attorney Richard Read later told a court. “They believed she was a hypocrite because she was promiscuous and used marijuana.”