July 28, 1999
Lionel Tate (12) kills Tiffany Eunick (6) while playing
Tate and Eunick were being watched by Tate’s mother when Tate informed his mother he accidentally hurt Eunick while playing. He claimed to have put her in a headlock and hit her head against a table while play-wrestling. However, her injuries were closer to “those she would have sustained by falling from a three-story building” including over 30 injuries such as liver lacerations, a skull fracture, brain swelling, and rib fractures.
Tate was originally given a life sentence without possibility of parole after turning down a plea bargain for a 3-year term and 10 years of probation. (The plea deal was refused by Tate’s mother who hoped for an acquittal instead.) In 2004, the original sentence was overturned when his attorneys argued he had not been mentally evaluated before trial, allowing him to take the previously offered plea deal. Tate served a year of house arrest followed by 10 years probation, though he violated the terms of his probation by possessing a gun, robbed a pizza delivery worker at gunpoint, and assaulted a person inside a friend’s apartment following the pizza robbery. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years for the robbery and 30 years for the parole violation, with the terms to be served concurrently.