James A. Conrad

News section — The Christina Boyer Legal Case

(Scroll down for main article.)
Update: Christina Boyer's latest parole review was scheduled for April 14, 2015. She received notice on October 20, 2015 that she was again denied parole. However, instead of having to wait another seven years for the next mandatory review, she was informed that her next would be in two years, on April 14, 2017. She was 22 when first taken into custody in the county jail on April 14, 1992. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has the power to review a case at any time.  Georgia Inmate Tentative Parole Month (TPM) Look-up,  Georgia Parole Database.  Click to learn about a petition asking for Boyer's release.

David Herrin freed: The other defendant in the case, David Herrin, was paroled by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on November 16, 2011, five months before the end of his 20-year sentence. Parole ended for him on April 14, 2012, at which time his sentence was completed and he disappeared back into society. He was paroled to an address in Carrollton, Georgia, the city where Boyer and her daughter Amber lived and where Amber is buried. To view his last public domain prison photo in the state database, do a search here Note: check the box at the bottom of the form for "offenders not currently incarcerated" (photo believed to have been taken just before parole in November 2011).

Notes: Christina Boyer's last attorney Richard D. Allen, Jr. died of a heart attack on March 2, 2009 at age 63. A former Georgia prosecutor himself, he was working below fee and finally pro bono (on a volunteer basis) to help get Boyer released because he believed in her innocence. She is now without formal legal representation and relying solely on citizen activism. If you are an attorney and interested in representing Ms. Boyer, please let her know.

Here is a Georgia newspaper article on the legal case calling for a reconsideration of her two convictions: Carroll Star News, January 20, 2008. Here is a Facebook group page for her (Facebook account required).

Where would Christina Boyer go if she is released from prison? One of Boyer's problems in qualifying for parole is that she needs an acceptable "parole to" address. Even if she is first sent to a halfway house, she still needs an address that she could parole to for her application paperwork. If you are interested in helping and are a couple (male/female or two females) or a single female living in the United States with an extra bedroom and might be interested in taking her in as her sponsor and new friend, please contact her directly, or if you first have any questions, contact the owner of this site, James A. Conrad. Due to her past bad relationships with single men, she wishes to steer clear of that at this time and focus on getting released. She can receive and send email through the prison-authorized JPay.com system. Money for her account can also be sent through Jpay. Near the bottom of this web page there is more information on how to contact her, including by ground mail, which she welcomes.

The Christina Boyer Legal Case

How an innocent young woman of value to science was sentenced, less than 24 hours after passing a polygraph test, to life plus 20 years in an American prison without a trial.
by James A. Conrad, January 20, 2006 | Updated with new material and republished March 12, 2016
Tina Resch telekinesis frame 25 CARROLLTON, GEORGIA, USA — On Monday, October 24, 1994, 25-year-old Christina "Tina" Boyer, no longer the 14-year-old "telekinetic girl" in Columbus, Ohio known as Tina Resch, who was the subject of parapsychology research and news media stories in the mid 1980s concerning the alleged paranormal movement of objects witnessed by many in her adopted family's home, but now known by her married divorced name of Christina Boyer, or Tina Boyer, was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for the murder — State of Georgia District Attorney Peter J. Skandalakis and Assistant District Attorney Anne Allen alleged — of her three-year-old daughter Amber, who had died over two and a half years earlier on April 14, 1992 in Carrollton, Georgia.

Christina Boyer is currently serving that sentence, with a chance for parole or pardon, in Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Georgia in the southeastern United States.

Unleashed book by William Roll The 2004 book Unleashed — Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch by psychologist William Roll, Ph.D., and Valerie Storey makes a compelling argument that Christina Boyer is innocent of the charge of murdering her only child. The book largely covers the paranormal story of her teenage years and has a later section devoted to her legal troubles.

In consultation with William Roll and others, I have received and reviewed evidence in her legal case beyond that which is referred to in Unleashed, including transcripts of court testimony, transcripts of court proceedings, transcripts of audiotapes, police reports, the hospital's emergency room reports, the autopsy report, post-mortem and autopsy photos, photos taken at the time of the locations involved, and various other pieces of evidence and I agree with that conclusion. Christina Boyer is innocent of both criminal charges for which she was convicted.

Lydia Roll, William Roll, Amber Bennett, Christina Boyer
Christina Boyer (on far right), 22, with her daughter Amber, 3, in Georgia, November 28, 1991, visiting friends Dr. Bill Roll, Ph.D., a psychologist, parapsychologist, and university professor, and his wife Lydia Roll, MS, a licensed professional counselor, for what would be their last Thanksgiving holiday dinner together. Photo: William G. Roll.
Many things about this legal case are troubling:
  • Christina Boyer in Carroll County jail, Georgia 1994 Boyer was not found guilty by a jury and the trial process. After waiting over two and a half years in the Carroll County jail for a trial, her court-appointed lawyer, Jimmy Berry, whom she rarely saw, suddenly visited her and advised her that the safest course of action would be to accept a plea agreement he had worked out with District Attorney Skandalakis and Assistant D.A. Allen. With the start of the trial just days away, on a date strangely chosen by the court to be Halloween, October 31, 1994, and facing death by electrocution, Boyer decided that to save her life, she had to accept the plea agreement: an Alford plea, a type in which the defendant does not admit guilt and asserts innocence, but agrees to accept a lesser punishment (life plus 20 years in prison with the possibility of parole in this instance) rather than risk receiving a greater one (certain death). In a handwritten letter to her friends written in jail, she wrote:
"I know that my decision to go ahead Monday with the offered plea may seem like I'm giving up. Please try to understand that I'm scared." — Christina Boyer, October 1994
'Telekinetic' mom averts trial: Tina Boyer pleads guilty in daughter's death
(excerpt) from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, newspaper, October 25, 1994
    Tina Boyer, who 10 years ago was at the center of a media circus over her alleged telekinetic abilities to make objects fly, sat sobbing in the Carroll County courthouse Monday and pleaded guilty in the beating death of her 3-year-old daughter, Amber. Set to go to trial Oct. 31, and possibly facing the death penalty, Boyer chose not to put her faith in the hands of 12 strangers. She pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
  • Boyer passed a polygraph test administered by a court-certified examiner at the county jail less than 24 hours before her sentencing that indicated her innocence. The court paid for the test and the positive results were entered into the court record at her sentencing on October 24, 1994. Despite this, the prosecutor and judge allowed the plea deal and sentencing to proceed. The sentencing judge resigned in 2012 while being investigated for "allegations of judicial misconduct" unrelated to this case.
  • Jimmy Berry, Boyer's court-appointed defense attorney, never contacted or interviewed psychologist Jeannie Lagle, the main alibi witness in the case, whom Boyer was with working on a book project for nearly six hours when her daughter died while in the custody of her new boyfriend of less than two months, David Herrin, who was babysitting that day.
  • During his time on the case, Berry filed a "letter of conflict" with the court indicating that he was working on 88 other cases in Georgia, including another high profile murder case, at the same time that he was representing Boyer. He had never had a death penalty conviction in any of his previous cases and a plea agreement ensured quickly that there would be no trial, his record would hold, and he could get back to his 88 other cases.
  • The District Attorney, Peter J. Skandalakis, and the Sheriff, Jack Bell, who arrested Boyer in 1992 despite having access to contrary evidence from the medical examiner, were running political campaigns that year. They won their elections that November.
  • The new boyfriend, David Paul Herrin, 29, seven years older than Boyer, 22, would not take a polygraph test. He was the only one with three-year-old Amber during the last six hours of her life. In the hospital emergency room, he was heard by Boyer and psychologist Jeannie Lagle making the comment, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." A jury never heard that evidence.
  • The jury in David Herrin's case found him innocent of murder on February 3, 1995 at the conclusion of his week-long trial essentially because Boyer had already accepted a plea bargain just over three months earlier on October 24, 1994. In fact, Herrin's attorney made a point of passing around a certified copy of Boyer's signed plea/sentencing document so that every member of the jury could hold it in their hands and look at it. The fact that District Attorney Peter J. Skandalakis changed his mind shortly before Herrin's trial and removed the death penalty possibility from his case probably also influenced the jury's decision in Herrin's favor. The jury instead found Herrin guilty of the lesser charge of failing to seek medical treatment and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, serving just over 19 and a half years.
  • One of Boyer's two convictions, for which she was sentenced to 20 years, was for, quoting the indictment: "causing bodily harm to Amber Bennett by seriously disfiguring a member of her body to wit: her pancreas." However, according to the public testimony of the medical examiner at Herrin's trial (found in a section below), who was the State of Georgia's chief medical witness, the injury, caused, according to Boyer, by a fall on a "big wheel" tricycle's handlebar while playing, was so minor that there would have been no external symptoms and it would have healed on its own. "Serious disfigurement" means permanent damage of a severe nature. It was a charge in the indictment not supported by the medical examiner's evidence. Despite this, the District Attorney, who swore under oath that the indictment was true, and sentencing judge allowed the conviction and 20-year sentence to take place, apparently contrary to Georgia law (see in red next below). Herrin's attorney at trial: "You wouldn't say that the pancreas was seriously disfigured." Medical Examiner: "I wouldn't use that terminology."
State of Georgia Code 16-1-5:
"Every person is presumed innocent until proved guilty. No person shall be convicted of a crime unless each element of such crime is proved beyond a reasonable doubt."
  • Boyer's murder conviction was not for inflicting any physical injury to her daughter — no one in this case was convicted of hitting the child with deadly force — but for failing to seek medical attention for the head injury that caused her death, however it happened, whether by human violence or a home accident being covered up by the babysitting boyfriend. The medical examiner testified at the trial of David Herrin that Amber died of head trauma received within 0–30 minutes of her death. During the time frame when the fatal injury occurred, Boyer was at the home of psychologist Jeannie Lagle and had been for nearly six hours working on the manuscript for a book about her earlier life experiences as a teenager being researched by science. When she returned to the trailer home of Herrin, who did not own a phone, she found him standing on the front porch and her daughter inside in bed already deceased. She then rushed the child to the emergency room, but by then it was too late. The autopsy was performed on April 15, 1992, the morning after's Amber's death. Boyer and Herrin were formally charged in an arraignment on December 20, 1993, one year and eight months after being taken into custody and held in the county jail. Despite having access to this alibi information for Boyer, hospital emergency room records, and the medical examiner for consultation, the District Attorney charged Boyer with murder in the indictment he presented to the grand jury (see bottom of this page).
State of Georgia Code 16-3-40:
"The defense of alibi involves the impossibility of the accused's presence at the scene of the offense at the time of its commission. The range of the evidence in respect to time and place must be such as reasonably to exclude the possibility of presence."
  • Lastly, Boyer was a financially poor single mother and she and Amber were living on food stamps. To earn cash for necessities, she occasionally engaged in activities as an adult film actress in the local community, though she was never arrested for prostitution. With such a reputation problem, especially in the pre-Internet early 1990s, and not being a Georgia native with relatives in the area, her chances of being looked upon fairly by a conservative southern jury in a "Bible Belt" state in a child murder trial were fraught with uncertainty. This uncertainty may have contributed to the decision by her lawyer, who was familiar with local moral standards and juries, to not attempt a defense and negotiate a plea deal with the possibility of parole every seven years instead.
Excerpt of Boyer's attorney Richard D. Allen's letter to Parole Board Chairman Hunt
The following is an excerpt of a May 20, 2008 letter mailed to the then Board of Pardons and Paroles Chairman Garland R. Hunt asking him to reconsider Boyer's case after the Board had rejected her for parole or pardon in 1999 and 2007. Chairman Hunt, in a written response, refused reconsideration and let the Board's decision stand. Attorney Allen was a former Assistant District Attorney in the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit in Georgia. He died of a heart attack on March 2, 2009 at age 63.
Attorney Richard D. Allen, Jr. (a former Georgia Assistant District Attorney):
". . . How could she be guilty of any murder when no one claims that she was even present? And following that line of reason, how could she be guilty of not getting medical aid for the child, when she did not know of what occurred at the home until after the fact? . . . If Herrin's trial had come first (from where this testimony comes) then Ms. Boyer could not have even been charged with these crimes. This testimony of the medical examiner would have been on the record for all to know. . . ."
Christina Boyer has been in jail / prison in this case since the age of 22. She was officially arrested on April 16, 1992 (the date the arrest warrant was issued), but had been in custody since April 14, 1992. She was sentenced the day after her 25th birthday on October 24, 1994. The counter below is set from April 14, 1992.
How long has Christina Boyer been imprisoned?Count Up
For the record, including future historians researching this case, here are some of the names of people involved:

Christina/Tina Boyer . . . Age 22 on April 14, 1992. Full name: Christina Elaine Boyer. Maiden name: Christina "Tina" Resch. Middle name is sometimes spelled Elaina. Birthdate: October 23, 1969. She was adopted as an infant by the Resch family in Columbus, Ohio and achieved some fame in March 1984 for reports of spontaneous telekinesis events in her home, which were investigated by the news media, parapsychologists, and skeptic-magician James Randi. (The paranormal case is discussed elsewhere on this website.) Official current prison info

Amber Gail Bennett . . . Boyer's only daughter, age 3 (September 29, 1988 - April 14, 1992). Bennett is the last name of one of Boyer's divorced husbands, but who had no biological relation to Amber. Boyer was 18 when Amber was born and she has not publicly named the father. Find a Grave (photos appearing there originated on an earlier version of this web page)

David Herrin . . . Boyer's new boyfriend of less than two months in early 1992 and who was babysitting Amber when she died. He was age 29 on April 14, 1992. Full name: David Paul Herrin. Birthdate: August 4, 1962. Herrin's rented trailer where Amber died was just outside of the Carrollton city limits. He was charged with the same crimes as Boyer (see the indictment at the bottom of this page), but with no death sentence possibility, and was convicted only of "cruelty to childen." He was paroled on November 16, 2011, five months before the end of his 20-year sentence to a Carrollton, Georgia address believed to be the residential home of a relative. To view his last inmate photo in the state database: Official prison info (photo believed to have been taken just before parole in November 2011; search for offenders not currently incarcerated).

Jimmy D. Berry . . . Boyer's court-appointed Georgia attorney in the early 1990s. Also known as Jimmy Berry and Jim Berry. He was a private practive attorney at the time with death penalty case experience and agreed to take the case because no public defenders were available.

Richard D. Allen, Jr. . . . Boyer's attorney during her parole consideration in 2007/2008. He was a former prosecutor in Georgia and believed that Boyer should never have been arrested. He died of a heart attack on March 2, 2009. Obituary.

Superior Court Judge William F. Lee, Jr. . . . The judge who presided over Boyer's case. He resigned in 2012 while being investigated by the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission for "allegations of judicial misconduct" unrelated to this case. He sentenced Boyer to life in prison at the age of 25 (jailed since 22) less than 24 hours after she had passed a polygraph examination conducted at the county jail, allowed the conviction and additional 20-year sentence for the false pancreas injury charge, earlier heard court motions in both cases, and set trial dates. He set Boyer's trial, which subsequently did not happen, to begin on Halloween, October 31, 1994.
Article with photo: "Coweta's Judge Lee retiring amid probe" | "Coweta chief judge to leave bench amid probe"

Superior Court Judge Dewey Smith . . . The Chief Judge of the Carroll County, Georgia Superior Court who presided over the trial of David Herrin. He retired on Dec. 31, 1996 and died on September 29, 2001 of Parkinson's disease. Obituary | Find a Grave

Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney's website 1999 screenshot at the Internet Archive
November 28, 1999 screenshot of the website home page of the District Attorney's Office of the Coweta Judicial Circuit in Georgia, United States, the year the D.A.'s Office first began actively blocking Christina Boyer's parole, according to a local newspaper story at the time. Credit: Public domain record of the State of Georgia, United States of America. Source: Internet Archive
(D.A.) Peter J. Skandalakis . . . The Georgia District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit District who prosecuted Christina Boyer's and David Herrin's cases. Also known as Peter Skandalakis, and Pete Skandalakis. According to a Times-Georgian newspaper article, he was age 36 in July 1992. He was first elected to office in 1992 after serving less than a year as interim D.A. when the then current District Attorney retired. He ran unopposed in 2004, 2008, and 2012. In the 2004 election, he switched his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. He is running for re-election on November 8, 2016. Coweta Circuit District Attorney's website | 1990s era official photo.

Anne C. Allen . . . Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Carroll County D.A. Office (one of the D.A. Offices in the five counties covered by the Coweta Judicial Circuit District). She helped prosecute Christina Boyer's and David Herrin's cases. Also known as Anne Allen. The crime occurred in Carroll County, so her office in the District was heavily involved in the investigation, indictments, and prosecution. The Times-Georgian newspaper, May 26, 1999, Parole denied for woman convicted in child's death by Ian Bishop: "Assistant District Attorney Anne Allen assisted District Attorney Pete Skandalakis in the case. . . . Allen and the others of the prosecution team were active in blocking Boyer's parole bid."

Jack Bell . . . Sheriff of Carroll County, Georgia from 1985 to 1996. He was age 61 in April 1992 and was running for re-election that same year and won. Was the Chief of Police of the City of Carrollton before becoming Sheriff. Retired as Sheriff in 1996 and was elected to the Carroll County Commission, where he served as Chairman until he retired from that position in 2001. In April 1992, his Sheriff's Office arrested Boyer and Herrin. He died on May 21, 2004 at age 73 when a county mowing tractor he had been operating suddenly kicked into gear and ran over him. The county jail is named after him. Obituary: Villa Rica Voice | AP article.

(M.E.) Steven F. Dunton . . . Medical examiner who performed Amber's autopsy and was the State's chief medical witness. At the time, he was also a board-certified pediatrician with children of his own and a newborn on the way.

Kenneth W. Krontz . . . Herrin's court-appointed attorney, based in Douglasville, Georgia. He died on April 28, 2008 at age 56, cause of death not available. Obituary.

Jeannie Lagle . . . The psychologist whose home Boyer was at working on a book manuscript when Amber died at Herrin's trailer, about a 20 minute drive away. Ms. Lagle was one of the researchers in Chapel Hill, South Carolina who assisted Dr. William Roll in the investigation of Tina's telekinetic past when she was known as teenager Tina Resch and visited there to be studied. Mentioned in the book Unleashed. She had a masters degree in psychology at the time of the incident. She was Boyer's alibi witness, yet she was never contacted or interviewed by Boyer's attorney, who instead relied on police statements.

Det. Captain Mike Bradley . . . City of Carrollton police detective who questioned Christina Boyer and David Herrin on the night of April 14, 1992. Retired. Photo and Bio.

Det. Lieutenant Mike Thomas . . . City of Carrollton police detective who questioned Christina Boyer and David Herrin at the hospital and police station. Retired. Photo and Bio.

Dep. Wren Culver . . . Female Carroll County Sheriff's deputy who questioned Christina Boyer and David Herrin on the night of April 14, 1992, along with other law enforcement officers. She was the arresting officer in the case. Herrin's rented mobile home (also called a trailer) was located outside the city limits of Carrollton in Carroll County, so there was overlapping jurisdiction of the case. The alleged crime scene was outside the city, so the County Sheriff's Office made the arrest. She swore out the affidavit that was presented to a Judge Magistrate on April 16, 1992, who then issued the arrest warrant for Boyer, who was already being held in the County jail. Wren Culver reportedly left the Sheriff's Department in 1997.

Kathy Carswell . . . David Herrin's ex-wife in April 1992; testified at his trial as a character witness. Mother of Ashley, Herrin's own three-year-old daughter who sometimes played with Amber when Herrin had weekend custody. Herrin's daughter was not visiting on the day Amber died.

W.A. Robinson . . . Court-certified polygraph examiner. The Court paid for Boyer's polygraph examination and it took place in the County jail with the Sheriff's Office and Court's permission less than 24 hours before her sentencing. The results were entered into the court record at her sentencing. Robinson was an expert in the use of polygraph. According to a 1980 newspaper article, he was at that time (1980), the chief polygraph examiner for the Atlanta Police Department and Chairman of the Georgia Board of Polygraph Examiners.

William Roll / William G. Roll . . . Author, Oxford University-educated former Professor of Psychology and Psychical Research at the State University of West Georgia (West Georgia University) in Carrollton, Georgia. He had a Ph.D. degree in psychology and researched Tina Resch's case in 1984 and thereafter, along with others in Georgia. His wife was Lydia, a licensed professional counselor. He co-wrote the 2004 book Unleashed — Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch. He died on January 9, 2012 at age 85. Obituary.

Grand Jury members who authorized the indictment of Boyer . . . The names of the jurors in the grand jury, which is a secret process, are not known.

Jury members in Herrin trial . . . The names of the jurors are not known.


Quotes from Court Documents

The murder, aggravated assault, and child cruelty trial of David Paul Herrin began on Monday, January 30, 1995 in Carrollton, Georgia, United States, and ended the same week on Friday, February 3, 1995. Christina Boyer was brought to court and testified on the first day. Of special interest below is the testimony of the State's chief witness, the  medical examiner  (highlighted in blue) Steven Dunton. Three-year-old Amber Gail Bennett spent the last six hours of her life alone with 29-year-old David Herrin and the medical examiner's testimony establishes that the fatal head injury occurred within 30 minutes of her becoming deceased.

Christina Boyer left Herrin's rented trailer home alone in Herrin's automobile, leaving Amber behind alive in the care of Herrin, at approximately 12:40–12:45 pm, to go work at the home of psychologist Jeannie Lagle on the manuscript for a planned book about her earlier life experiences as a teenager who had been the subject of parapsychological phenomena research.

She arrived back at the trailer around 6:30 pm — nearly six hours later — and found her daughter dead in Herrin's bed. Boyer was not present when the fatal injury occurred, was not notified of her daughter's critical condition by Herrin until after her daughter had died, and yet was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for not getting her daughter medical treatment for the fatal injury that resulted in her death.

Apartment complex where Christina Boyer and Amber Bennett lived, early 1990s Rented trailer of David Herrin, early 1990s
Clockwise, early 1990s: (1) Apartment complex in Carrollton, Georgia, USA where Christina Boyer, 22, and her three-year-old daughter Amber Bennett lived. This was a public housing development that has since been demolished. Her apartment address there in 1992 was Christina Boyer, 102 D Davis Homes, Carrollton GA 30117. (2) Rented house trailer in Carroll County, Georgia outside the city limits of Carrollton where David Herrin, 29, lived and where Christina and Amber had slept overnight on April 13/14, 1992. Amber died on April 14 while in the lone care of Herrin for approximately six hours. Herrin was a truck driver and chose to pay for cable TV rather than telephone service.

Trial of David Herrin — Testimony Excerpts

David Herrin's attorney, Kenneth Krontz, has him admit early in his testimony that he was engaged in criminal activity for his employers before he was fired on April 10th, four days before Amber died. He drove heavy delivery trucks for three companies throughout the southeast without the necessary commercial driver's license. (2 quotes):
Herrin:  I was driving illegally for Mr. Tidwell for approximately — since the first of the year, first of '92.
— David Herrin testimony at his trial, page 635, lines 19–21.
Herrin:  I was driving illegally for him.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  When you say Tidwell, do you mean Tidmore?
Herrin:  Tidmore. I call him Mr. Tidwell. It just shows you how good I knew him. I was driving for three different companies and it just seems like it was strange that he's the only one that complained about me.
— Herrin testimony, page 672, lines 12–18.
Herrin gets caught in a discrepancy about being fired from his job. Amber died on Tuesday, the 14th. (1 quote):
Herrin:  See, I was laid off before then and you know that. I was laid off, fired, terminated, however you want to define it.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  You were fired on Friday, the 10th.
Herrin:  Terminated.
D.A.:  But you told the police you were laid off.
Herrin:  Well, that was a mistake. I meant terminated . . .
— Herrin testimony, page 671, lines 14–20.
Herrin and his attorney attempt to influence the jury in their favor by portraying the 29-year-old Herrin as a regular guy, a good ol' boy for the Georgia jury. Here he is questioned by his attorney and responds as if following a script. In the first quote, he is discussing returning from job-hunting on the morning of Amber's death, having left Boyer and Amber alone at the trailer, and mentions his intention to attend the special occasion of Easter church services that upcoming Sunday. He unfortunately chose to pay for cable TV service for his trailer instead of a telephone. (3 quotes):
Krontz:  Did you get a job?
Herrin:  Well, it was fill applications out and they'd get back to me. I don't have a phone so I give them my mom's phone number and address and if they got ahold of her, I'd see her on Sunday at church and we'd straighten it out then.
Krontz:  Okay. You didn't have a phone in your trailer?
Herrin:  No, sir. I couldn't afford one at the time because I'd gone through bankruptcy.
Krontz:  What time did you go back to the trailer? What time did you get back?
Herrin:  Probably, it was between 10:30 and 11:30. I didn't look at my watch. I just knowed it wasn't after twelve, I know.
— Herrin testimony, page 655, line 25; continued page 656, lines 1–12.
Herrin:  I went into the living room, changed channels, want to say a pre-recorded race was on t.v. I've been into NASCAR for —
Krontz:  Did you drink a beer and fall asleep in the chair?
Herrin:  I believe I did. I don't think I even finished the beer as a matter of fact.
— Herrin testimony, page 663, 10-16.
Krontz:  How long were you in the military?
Herrin:  A little over two years.
Krontz:  In the Army?
Herrin:  Yes, sir.
— Herrin testimony, page 672, lines 12–18.
Herrin saw no bruises on Amber on April 9th, the day before he was fired. A maintenance man at Boyer's apartment also testified that he saw no bruises on her the 9th. She died on the 14th. (1 quote):
Herrin:  On the 9th I don't recall her having a bruise on her.
— Herrin testimony, page 702, lines 9–10.
Mr. Herrin on giving his three-year-old daughter baths when she visited and unusual appreciation for taking baths himself (1 quote):
Herrin:  I mean like Ashley, I give her one once a day. It's like when I take one, I'll take one once a day and sometimes twice.
— Herrin testimony, page 652, lines 20–22.
Mr. Herrin makes a joke at Amber's expense. (2 quotes):
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  I still want to understand how you put this little girl in a tub to bathe herself . . . I want to know what she was doing in that tub by herself.
Herrin:  Well, I mean, surely you didn't want me to get in the tub with her.
D.A.:  That's funny. That's really funny. You know.
— Herrin testimony, page 690, lines 17, 19–23.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis: Your Honor, the State would move to admit into evidence State's Exhibit #36 identified by Mr. Herrin as the bathtub in his house.
— Herrin testimony, page 710, 20-22.
 Medical examiner  Steven Dunton testifies that no "serious disfigurement" of Amber's pancreas occurred, as claimed in the indictment by the District Attorney.
According to the testimony, there were two tiny superficial scratches on the pancreas measuring "several millimeters" in length. The edge of a U.S. five-cent coin (nickel) is two millimeters. The medical examiner would have had to put the pancreas under a magnifying glass in order to get a more precise measurement.
The injury was so minor, in fact, there would have been no symptoms for Boyer to be aware of and it would not show up on an X-ray. No medical treatment would have been necessary or even possible, as it would have required far more dangerous major invasive surgery to even discover it.
Boyer testified that the injury occurred when Amber fell on her plastic "big wheel" tricycle while playing. First, the District Attorney qualifies Dr. Dunton as an expert witness for the State. (2 quotes):
The Court:  Dr. Steven Dunton, called as a witness by the State, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows. Direct examination, by Mr. Skandalakis:
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  Please tell the jury your name.
Medical examiner Steven Dunton:  Steven Frank Dunton, M. D.
D.A.:  And Dr. Dunton, where do you work?
M.E.:  I'm employed primarily by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office in Atlanta. I work under contract with the State Crime Laboratory. I also perform my job with some of the outlying counties as well.
D.A.:  And Dr. Dunton, would you please tell the jury some of your credentials?
M.E.:  I graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1982. I completed a three year residency in pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma. I followed that with a year of training in pediatric hematology and oncology at Emory University. That was followed by three years of residency in anatomic pathology at Emory University followed by one year of training in forensic pathology at the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office. I'm board certified in pediatrics, anatomic pathology and forensic pathology.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  And Dr. Dunton, would you please tell the jury what a forensic pathologist does?
M.E.:  A forensic pathologist is a physician who is a pathologist who specifically works in the medical/legal field. A forensic pathologist is called upon to investigate deaths that either occur by violent means or by unexplained sometimes natural means.
D.A.:  We would tender Dr. Dunton in as an expert at this point.
The Court:  Do you want to voir dire him on his expertise?
Krontz:  No, your honor. I have spoken with him. I would agree that he's an expert in this field.
The Court:  You may question him as an expert witness in his field.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 397, lines 1-25; continued page 398, lines 1–13.
The Court:  Further Direct Examination by Mr. Skandalakis:
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  Dr. Dunton, not only are you a pediatrician but you have children of your own. How old are your children?
M.E.:  I have a six-year-old daughter, a two-and-a-half year-old son and I have a new baby due in about five weeks.
D.A.:  You also testify not only as a professional but as a parent you observe children, correct?
M.E.:  Yes.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 465, lines 1–9.

Herrin's attorney asks questions about the pancreas injury. (4 quotes)

Attorney Kenneth Krontz (attorney for David Herrin):   So in reality, we're talking about a couple of very, very small injuries to the pancreas in this child. Isn't that correct?
M.E.:  That's right.

— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 457, lines 4–7.
Krontz:  Is it true that these injuries to the child, the lacerations, probably would have healed themselves without medical intervention?
M.E.:  I think that's probably true.
Krontz:  And is it true that these lacerations that you discovered in your autopsy could not have interfered with the function of the pancreas?
M.E.:  I don't think they would, no.

— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 457, lines 12–19.
Krontz:  So we don't have a situation where any of these injuries caused the loss of use of the pancreas?
M.E.:  In the long run, no, I don't think there would — if she had survived, I don't think there would have been any long term complications with her pancreas.
Krontz:  And the injury to the pancreas was not such that the pancreas was split open or anything that would require its surgical removal?
M.E.:  No, I don't believe that's ever done any way. I think there's some attempt made to repair it but the injuries were rather small indicating a large amount of force had been used to accomplish them but the pancreas injuries in and of themselves probably were not life threatening.
Krontz:  So we don't have a loss of the pancreas?
M.E.:  No, I think, as I said, if she had survived, I think the pancreas would have restored its normal function.
Krontz:  And we don't have a loss of use of the pancreas?
M.E.:  No.
Krontz:  One other concept I need to talk to you about and that is, these are very small injuries, several millimeters, which is pretty dang small, right?
M.E.:  Yes.
Krontz:  Would you say that these injuries impaired the appearance of that child?
M.E.:  The pancreatic injuries in and of themselves?
Krontz:  Yes, sir.
M.E.:  There would be no external sign that the pancreas is injured.

— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 468, lines 11–25; continued page 469, lines 1–13.
Attorney Krontz:  You wouldn't say that the pancreas was seriously disfigured.
Medical Examiner:  I wouldn't use that terminology.
Krontz:  Thank you. That's all I have.

— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 469, lines 16–19.
From the Indictment against Boyer:
Count four charges you, Christina Boyer, with the offense of aggravated assault. In that count you are charged: in Carroll County, Georgia on the date of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 you did then and there unlawfully and maliciously cause bodily harm to Amber Bennett by seriously disfiguring a member of her body to wit: her pancreas, contrary to laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.
(As part of the deal to prevent being executed by the State, Boyer agreed to plead guilty to this alleged crime and was convicted and sentenced to 20 years for it. If the judge and prosecution team allowed her to be convicted for a crime that did not occur as charged, even after passing a polygraph test, serious questions are raised about the entire case.)
Boyer concludes her testimony on the first day of Herrin's trial, stating that she saw Amber fall on her plastic big wheel tricycle on Saturday April 11th, three days before her death, resulting in a non-life-threatening injury to her pancreas, one that the medical examiner would testify as having "no external sign that the pancreas is injured." More excerpts from Boyer's testimony on other topics can be found below. (1 quote):
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  Do you recall giving the police a statement and I'm talking about on that Saturday, of how the child received injuries, other than the fall from the steps, step?
Boyer:  Other than the — no, except playing in her toy box and a big wheel in the house.
D.A.:  That's what I'm talking about.
Boyer:  Yes.
D.A.:  What about the big wheel?
Boyer:  She was playing on her big wheel and it toppled over.
D.A.:  And how do you know that?
Boyer:  Because I was sitting there watching her.
D.A.:  You saw that?
Boyer:  Yes I did.
D.A.:  That's all.
Krontz:  Nothing further. Thank you.
The Court:  You may go down. (Witness withdraws from courtroom.)
— Christina Boyer testimony at Herrin trial, Jan 30, 1995, page 346, lines 3–10.
 Medical examiner  Steven Dunton comments on the fatal head injury at Herrin's trial. Dr. Dunton was also a Board-certified pediatrician familiar with child injuries.
Amber was alone with Herrin for about the last six hours of her life. Boyer left Herrin's rented trailer home to go to psychologist Jeannie Lagle's home to work together on her autobiography approximately 12:40–12:45 pm and arrived back at the trailer around 6:30 pm. Amber was alive when Boyer left, deceased when she returned.
In the testimony below, medical examiner Dunton is referring to Amber's death as a result of an acute subdural hematoma, in which symptoms occur rapidly after a head injury, as opposed to the subacute or chronic kind, in which slower bleeding is involved.
Herrin described Amber acting "normal" and being "as happy as could be" watching cartoons, talking, eating various meals, and playing indoors and outdoors throughout the day while alone with him for nearly six hours, which would be inconsistent with a child suffering from an acute internally bleeding head injury.
The District Attorney's theory was that Boyer had struck her daughter in the head either before she left or even days earlier. (5 quotes):
District Attorney Peter J. Skandalakis:  . . . Doctor, in your opinion, what was the cause of death of this child?
Medical examiner Steven Dunton:  Primarily it was the blunt force trauma she received to her head.

— Medical examiner Dunton testimony, page 432, lines 4–7.
M.E.:  . . . it's hard to conceive that there would be any significant period of time following such an injury that the child seems perfectly fine and then later the symptoms kick in. That's just not the way it happens. Either there's going to be injury and then starting a very slow deterioration of her consciousness and her activity and her appetite, etc. or beginning with the injury there may be very rapid decrease in those symptoms but there is not going to be a long period of normalcy.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 461, lines 20–25; continued page 462, lines 1–3.
M.E.:  As I said before, the symptoms should begin immediately, but they may be very slight and they may deteriorate slowly and then rapidly at the very end, or they may deteriorate very rapidly from the onset, but the symptoms are not going to commence hours after the injury.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 462, lines 23–25; continued page 463, lines 1–3.
M.E.:  . . . I sincerely doubt that the lethal injury was inflicted three or four days prior to her death.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 439, lines 15–16.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  And, Doctor, what would we expect to see, behavior wise, out of a child that had that type of injury? In other words, what outside symptoms would there appear to be in a child's behavior who had that fatal injury?
M.E.:  If a child has received this kind of force to the brain, that's going to result in a subdural hematoma and eventual swelling of the brain. At the very beginning, right after the injury, there may be a short period of time and I mean very short, some minutes, I doubt as long as 15 or 30, where the child might seem perfectly fine. On the other hand, and probably the more frequent occurrence is that after such force is applied to the brain of a child immediately there's something wrong. If they're not completely unconscious then they may be groggy, unsteady on their feet, sleepy. Other symptoms might include nausea and vomiting, difficulty walking and as time goes by, if they survive for an interval of time, they may be unconscious completely at that point, completely comatose or even deceased. As I said, there is some variability in how fast this happens, but nonetheless, from the point of injury to the point of death, the symptoms are progressive, that is, they're not: everything's great for a while and everything's perfectly normal and then all of a sudden the symptoms kick in. They may be very mild initially and they may deteriorate slowly but there's going to be some gradual or more abrupt change.
D.A.:  Would you expect a child who has sustained these types of injuries to have been playing let's say two hours beforehand?
M.E.:  Before . . .
D.A.:  Death.
M.E.:  Before death and after injuries are received?
D.A.:  Yes.
M.E.:  Well, it might depend on what playing means. Once again, motor activity, coordination, degree of consciousness, those are all going to be variables so it might depend on what their activity is.
— Medical examiner Steven Dunton testimony, page 447, lines 16–25; continued page 448, lines 1–25; continued page 449, lines 1–5.
Herrin is questioned by the police about Amber's activities on April 14th during the approximately six hours she was alone with him while Boyer was at psychologist Jeannie Lagle's house. Where Herrin says "my little girl" he is referring to his own three-year-old daughter Ashley with his ex-wife, neither of whom visited that day. Boyer and her daughter lived at an apartment complex. She was only beginning to occasionally stay overnight at Herrin's trailer. Amber was nearly over the flu, caught from Herrin, which is why she had some diarrhea. (1 quote):
Tape-recorded statement given by Herrin to police on the night of April 14, 1992, the day three-year-old Amber died.:
Det. Lieutenant Mike Thomas:  Okay, what about today?
Herrin:  This morning I had to go down to the unemployment office and do some running around. I got back around ten thirty or eleven o'clock and Amber was already up and watching cartoons and eating and Christina, she was still asleep and, well no, she was just getting up when I come in. I don't know if she heard me or what but as she got ready and she went to . . . (inaudible) one o'clock or little after one she went to Jenny's house to work on her computer and usually around one, one o'clock, one-thirty Amber usually takes a nap, you know, so I tried to put her in bed and take a nap and she just, you know, kept getting up so, you know, it was useless trying. I figured she wasn't tired and the way she'd been feeling lately I just figured not to push it. . . .
Det. Thomas:  Anything else unusual about her? She complaining about anything?
Herrin:  Well, she, well she was, you know, she was having diarrhea, but no she really didn't complain and not a bit, I mean, she got up, ate a bowl of cereal, done good, watched cartoons and acted like, you know, normal. . . . I couldn't get her back down for a nap. We got up and I went ahead and fed her lunch, she, Amber had a salad.

Det. Thomas:  You say "We got up." Did you lay down with her?
Herrin:  Oh, no sir, no sir, I mean, it's just a figure of speech, but she, I mean, she got up, I let her watch t.v. She ate a peanut butter sandwich, drunk milk and played with my little girl's toy box, got a bunch of toys, and I then took her outside to play. Outside, she's got a little three-wheeler she rides on and I was laying outside in the lounge chair and I was there for, seemed like an hour or so 'cause it was getting pretty hot, and then I took her back inside and then give her something to drink. She snacked, watched some cartoons, and around, let me think, I want to say either three-thirty or four o'clock, I noticed she was getting where she was staggering around, you know, eyes were, getting sleepy was what I figured.
INTERVIEW 4-14-92 AT 2300 HRS.
— Audiotape-recorded interview of David Herrin conducted by the Carrollton Police Department on the night of April 14, 1992.
Herrin testifies in court about Amber's activities on April 14, 1992 (1 quote):
Attorney Kenneth Krontz (attorney for David Herrin):  What did you and Amber do that day?
Herrin:  . . . She played, watched cartoons. I just had got cable and had Nickelodeon and she was tickled to death to have 24 hours a day, seven days a week cartoons because she'd never had it before.
She'd never really had a t.v. that would pick up more than one channel over at her place and in color so she was just as happy as could be, sat right in front of the t.v. and she'd ask for something and I'd get it for her. It's that simple. She wanted to go out and play out in the yard which is no problem. It's a nice day. I pulled a lounge chair out there. I said, "just stay out in the front yard." The trailer sat on a good size lot. There was nobody else around except for the horses and cows across the field and she played and played until it got to a certain point where I was starting to sweat. It was getting warmer and I took her inside.
Krontz:  Could you see anything wrong with her at that point?
Herrin:  Just that she was getting drowsy, you know, which she hadn't took a nap. I'd lay her down in the floor and I said, well, maybe it's a little too early and she was getting restless and, you know, because she didn't want to lay down. So I didn't push it, I never have with my daughter and I ain't gonna do it with your daughter or his daughter or anybody else's daughter. If they don't want to go to bed, as far as I'm concerned, they don't have to go to bed and so I just let it go until she started rubbing her eyes, drowsiness. I could tell by the way she was walking she was getting tired.
Krontz:  Did you see anything any different from when she got tired in the past?
Herrin:  No, she basically acted the same. My daughter gets the same way. When she gets tired she rubs her eyes and, you know, it's a sign, you know, it's time.
— Herrin testimony, page 660, lines 2, 7–25; continued page 661, lines 1–14.
From the Indictment against Boyer:
Count number three charges you with the offense of murder.  It charges that Christina Boyer in Carroll County, Georgia, on the date of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 did then and there unlawfully cause the death of Amber Bennett, a human being while in the commission of a felony to wit:  cruelty to children by maliciously causing Amber Bennett a child under the age of eighteen cruel and excessive physical pain by failing to seek proper medical attention for Amber Bennett, contrary to laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

(As part of the deal arranged by her court-appointed attorney with the District Attorney to prevent being executed by the State, Boyer agreed to plead guilty to the above Count in the indictment and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, despite having been physically apart from her daughter's location for nearly six hours on April 14, 1992.)

A discrepancy by Herrin and his ex-wife Kathy Carswell about Amber's meals on the day she died. (1 quote):
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis: Shortly after your arrest you talked to your wife, is that right, your ex-wife?
Herrin:  Yes, I talked to her quite frequently.
D.A.:  You told your wife you tried to get Amber to eat something and Amber refused. You heard her testify here today, correct?
Herrin:  Yes.
D.A.:  But you told the police Amber had cereal in the morning, a salad at lunch, a peanut butter sandwich, a drink, and all that occurred from the time you first told the police and all this was about a week or two later. Do you have any explanation for the difference in the child not eating at all to all of a sudden she had all those things to eat?
Herrin:  Like I said, I tried to get her to eat something.
D.A.:  You tried.
Herrin:  Like I said, I tried several different things.
— Herrin testimony, page 687, lines 9–24.
Herrin gets caught in a discrepancy about finding Amber unconscious. (1 quote):
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  You told the police that you checked on her every so often and you kept going back in and checking on her after she went to sleep. Is that right?
Herrin:  Yes, sir.
D.A.:  She was moving her feet and you were checking on her back and forth. Is that right?
Herrin:  Rolling over and —
D.A.:  Rolling over and — but you told your wife you took a nap. You told your wife from 4:30 until about 6:00 you didn't check on her once and that's just a week after the child died. Which one is it?
Herrin:  Well, I know I checked on her.
— Herrin testimony, page 691, lines 19–25; continued page 692, lines 1–5.
Herrin's actions after finding Amber lifeless in his daughter's bed where he claimed he put her for a nap and of going to a neighbor's house to use a phone. The "Jenny" in the transcript is psychologist Jeannie Lagle, whose house Boyer was at for nearly the previous six hours. (2 quotes):
Herrin:  When I first walked in the room, I noticed something was wrong because before when Amber sleeps she's always tossing and turning, kicking the covers off. The covers were up on her. Her right arm was hanging off the bed and she was as pale as a ghost.
Krontz:  What did you do?
Herrin:  I basically freaked out. I panicked. I run over there, shook her, called her name out I don't know how many times, got mad at Christina for leaving me in this kind of situation.
Krontz:  Did you try to get help?
Herrin:  Yes, sir I ran . . . I run up the street, bare footed, a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. I run up the street, I don't know how far it is, a quarter of a mile, maybe not that far, cut across a yard. . . . I run straight up on her and told her, "I'm having a problem with my girlfriend's daughter. She won't wake up. I need to use your phone."
Krontz:  And why didn't you call 911?
Herrin:  For some reason it didn't even cross my mind.
— Herrin testimony, page 665, lines 8–23, continued page 666, lines 1-3, 5–9.
Krontz:  So you called Jenny?
Herrin:  She told me that Christina had been gone, she should be there any minute so I said I better get down there before she rides up and freaks out.
— Herrin testimony, page 666, lines 15–18.
Two versions of the same story regarding Boyer's return to Herrin's trailer and finding Amber lifeless. Boyer gave her version on the stand first, with Herrin sitting listening in the courtroom. After Boyer completed her testimony on the first day of Herrin's trial, she was escorted back to prison and was not in the courtroom during anyone else's testimony on subsequent days. Herrin's car was a Chevy Impala. Boyer was about a 15 minute drive away at Ms. Lagle's house. The court reporter wrote Jeannie's name as Jenny here and elsewhere in the transcripts. Boyer first answered a question from District Attorney Skandalakis about what time she left the trailer that morning. (2 quotes):
Boyer's version
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  About what time did you leave?
Boyer:  About twenty till one.
D.A.:  And what were you doing at Jenny Lagle's house?
Boyer:  Working. She was paying me to write.
D.A.:  And what kind of book were you writing?
Boyer:  Supposedly a — I don't know what you'd call it, I guess an autobiography.
D.A.:  What time did you get back home?
Boyer:  About 6:30.
D.A.:  And what, if anything, happened when you got back home?
Boyer:  When I arrived home, I pulled up in the driveway and David came out on the porch and headed down the stairs and I opened up the door and asked him "what" and he said that he couldn't get Amber up. He said, "I can't get Amber up" and at that point, I jumped out of the car and I went in the house and I went in the room, and Amber was lying there, and I put my head down on her chest to see if she was breathing, and she wasn't breathing, and I yanked the covers back and I picked my daughter up and we went out to the car.
D.A.:  What did you do then?
Boyer:  We were driving — David drove me to the hospital.
— Christina Boyer testimony at Herrin trial, Jan 30, 1995, page 299, lines 21–25; continued page 300, lines 1–19.
Herrin's version
Krontz:  Did Christina pull up?
Herrin:  Yeah, I heard her coming up on the gravel driveway. I hollered out, run out of the room, run out of the trailer, run up to the car. She's sitting there lost in her own little world, eyes closed, radio wide open, singing up a storm. She was in her own world to the extent that she did not even notice me standing right next to the car.
Krontz:  What did you do?
Herrin:  I snatched the car door open and at that time she looked and smiled like, you know, "What's up" and that's when I told her she needed to get her ass out of the car, I cannot wake up Amber, we need to get her to the hospital.
Krontz:  What did she say?
Herrin:  Well, she had some kind of expression on her face, but she jumped out of the car. I don't remember exactly what she said, if she said anything until she got in the house, and then she snatched Amber up. I knew she was in no condition to drive, so I drove.
— Herrin testimony, page 667, lines 5–22.
A discrepancy in which Herrin and his attorney offer the jury an alleged incident of severe physical child abuse by Boyer that Herrin claims he witnessed at his trailer. (2 quotes):
Herrin:   . . . it wasn't time to eat and one time she slammed the refrigerator door on Amber's hand when she was trying to pull some kind of fruit or something out of the refrigerator.
Krontz:  Did she do it by accident?
Herrin:  No, sir. It was no accident.
— Herrin testimony, page 641, lines 1–3.
Autopsy Report:  "X-rays of the entire skeletal system do not reveal any recent or old fractures or any other significant bony abnormality. . . . This is the body of a well-developed, well-nourished white female child measuring 39 inches in crown-heel length and 19 inches in frontal-occipital circumference. The weight of the child is approximately 30 pounds." [normal weight range for a three year old girl is 25.5 to 38.5 pounds]
— Autopsy Report of Amber Bennett, Medical examiner Steven F. Dunton, April 15, 1992, 8:00 a.m. begin.
Herrin's attorney attempts to use the tactic of making Boyer seem mentally unstable to the jury because of her telekinetic past and the book she was writing with her psychologist friend Jeannie Lagle, who was one of the researchers who investigated her when she was 14. The book on Boyer was never finished. Historical Note: This is believed to be the first trial in world history in which someone on a witness stand was asked to perform telekinesis in a courtroom in front of a jury. (1 quote):
Krontz:  What's there about your life that would justify, I mean before Amber died, and maybe there's something that justifies it now, but, what is there about your life at that time that justified an autobiography? I mean, what's special about you?
Boyer:  In my opinion, nothing. The book was — when I was fourteen very many unexplainable events happened in my home concerning my home that year and it attracted a lot of media attention and I went to conferences and all types of things so we were writing about everything that had happened.
Krontz:  Are these the telekinetic powers I heard about?
Boyer:  If that's what you want to call them, yes.
Krontz:  Is that the ability to move things, move physical objects with only your mind?
Boyer:  That's what I'm told.
Krontz:  Is that what you did back when you were fourteen years old?
Boyer:  I don't know what happened when I was fourteen years old. All I know is that my whole life was chaotic and it was very traumatic and I can't explain anything that had happened. I don't know.
Krontz:  Things moved around in the room when you were sitting there. Is that right?
Boyer:  Yes, sir.
Krontz:  And somebody told you or you think that your brain caused those things to move.
Boyer:  I've had very many different opinions as to why those things happened.
Krontz:  Do those things still happen to you?
Boyer:  No, sir.
Krontz:  So you can't move things anymore?
Boyer:  No, things don't happen around me anymore.
Krontz:  Okay. So you can't move the little yellow marker that I've put up there?
Boyer:  No, sir.
Krontz:  Well, during this cross examination feel if the spirit moves you, Ms. Boyer.
— Christina Boyer testimony at Herrin trial, Jan 30, 1995, page 320, lines 21–25; continued page 321, lines 1–25; continued page 322, lines 1–7.
Herrin's attorney, this time questioning his client, again brings up Boyer's telekinetic past and a lecture appearance she made on Sunday, April 12th, in Atlanta, Georgia with Jeannie Lagle two days before Amber's death. (1 quote):
Krontz:  Let's talk about Sunday. What did y'all do on Sunday?
Herrin:  Sunday. We stayed around the house for a good part of the morning, slept late. I know I slept late, not real late. I got up and Christina had been talking about a presentation she was going to have to make.
Krontz:  What kind of presentation?
Herrin:  Something to do with telekinetic —
Krontz:  That business where she used to move things around, with her mind?
Herrin  Yes, sir. She brung it up several times to me and I've been to see magicians, David Copperfield, you know, people like that, illusions is what I call it and I wanted to see her move something but to my knowledge she has never moved nothing.
Krontz:  Is that what the counselor was all about?
Herrin:  To my impression, yes. There were several notes left in my car. She wanted me to read them but I never had a chance to read them that had something to do with her past and here in Georgia and some other people involved. I don't know because I never did read it. It's just what she has told me.
— Herrin testimony, page 647, lines 22–25; continued page 648, lines 1–18.
Boyer's indictment is shown to the jury by Herrin's attorney and Boyer explains why she pled guilty. (2 quotes):
The Court:  Cross examination, by Mr. Krontz:
Krontz:  So you thought your lawyer wouldn't fight for you, when you went to court?
Boyer:  Yes.
Krontz:  Your lawyer was Jimmy Berry, is that right?
Boyer:  Yes.
Krontz:  Do you know that he's one of the lawyers in Cobb County in the Fred Tokar's case?
Boyer:  Yes, I do.
Krontz:  Do you know that he is a renowned death penalty defense lawyer in Georgia?
Boyer:  Yes.
Krontz:  Your Honor, I have for identification purposes Defendant's Exhibit #1 which is a certified copy of the indictment against Ms. Boyer and her sentence. I would tender that into evidence at this time.
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  No objection, your Honor.
The Court:  Let it be admitted. (Whereupon Defendant's Exhibit #1 was offered and admitted into evidence.)
Krontz:  I would ask for the opportunity to exhibit this document to the Jury at this time, your honor, since it's been admitted.
D.A.:  No objection, your honor.
The Court:  Let it be presented to the jury for their observation.
Krontz:  Ms. Boyer, you pled guilty to aggravated battery, did you not?
Boyer:  Yes, but I didn't want to.
Krontz:  Well, I know you didn't want to.
Boyer:  Because I did not beat my child.
— Christina Boyer testimony at Herrin trial, page 318, lines 1–25; continued page 319, lines 1–8.
Krontz:  And because you entered a guilty plea to aggravated battery for which you received a sentence of twenty years and you pled guilty to felony murder for which you received a mandatory life sentence, right?
Boyer:  Yes, sir.
Krontz:  And because of that you did not face the death penalty, right?
Boyer:  Yes, that's why I did it.
Krontz:  You were afraid of the possibility that you could someday be put to death for killing your child?
Boyer:  Yes.
Krontz:  Part of the deal so that you didn't have to get strapped into the electric chair someday —
Boyer:  Yes, I didn't want to be strapped in for something I didn't do.
Krontz:  But you're willing to spend life plus twenty for something you didn't do?
Boyer:  I don't want to die for something I didn't do.
— Christina Boyer testimony at Herrin trial, page 319, lines 22–25; continued page 320, lines 1–14.
Herrin's last words at his trial. (1 quote):
D.A. Peter J. Skandalakis:  You and Christina were the only ones that had that child for that four day period, correct?
Herrin:  Correct.
D.A.:  Can you give the jury any explanation on how in a four day period this child went from looking like this (shows defendant pictures) to like that and nobody did a thing?
Herrin:  No, sir. All I can tell you is that I did not do it.
D.A.:  That's all.
The Court:  Any further questions, Mr. Krontz?
Krontz:  No, your Honor.
The Court:  You may go down. (Defendant withdraws from witness stand.) Call your next witness, please, Mr. Krontz.
Krontz:  Your Honor, the defense rests.
— Herrin testimony, page 710, lines 2–17.
Boyer's attorney Jimmy Berry asks the Court to enter Boyer's successful polygraph test results into the record at her sentencing. (2 quotes):
Berry:  I would like to supplement the record with a copy of the polygraph report so that the Board of Pardons and Paroles will have that.
The Court:  We'll allow you to do that.
Berry:  And also a letter, Judge, outlining some of the fact finding information that I found in the case just for the Board of Pardons and Paroles because obviously now it's up to them to determine when she should be released. She is willing to testify about her knowledge and we would ask that that be made a part of the record as well. Anything and everything that we can do to help her as far as her earlier release we certainly would want to put on the record as far as that's concerned.
— Transcript of Christina Boyer plea/sentencing proceeding, Oct 24, 1994, page 89, lines 7–19.
Berry:  My client has taken a polygraph test; W.A. Robinson who came down and administered the polygraph test under the rules and regulations that are promulgated by their group; in his opinion Ms. Boyer was truthful in her answers pertaining to the fact that she had inflicted any of the injuries at all. In looking through the case, in my opinion, as well, I felt that Ms. Boyer was not the one who inflicted the injuries, that David Herrin was.
— Transcript of Christina Boyer plea bargain/sentencing proceeding, Oct 24, 1994, page 92, lines 1–9.

Arraignment: The Charges Christina Boyer Was Facing

[David Herrin was indicted on the same changes.]
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF CARROLL COUNTY
STATE OF GEORGIA
THE STATE
Versus
CHRISTINA BOYER      INDICTMENT NO. 92-CR-447
Charge:  Murder

Before THE HONORABLE WILLIAM F. LEE, JR., in Carrollton, Georgia.

Transcript of the proceedings

APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL:

On behalf of the State:  PETER J. SKANDALAKIS, District Attorney
On behalf of the Defendant:  JIMMY D. BERRY, ESQ.

Edward Noriega
OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER
COWETA COUNTY COURTHOUSE
NEWNAN, GEORGIA

Hearing held on December 20, 1993 in Carrollton, Georgia:

THE COURT:  We're here in case number 92-CR-447, the case of the State of Georgia versus Christina Boyer. She is present in Court along with her attorney, Mr. Berry. Present also is Mr. Peter Skandalakis, the District Attorney of the circuit. The purpose of this hearing is for the arraignment of the defendant, Christina Boyer. Ms. Boyer, your name is Christina Boyer?
MS. BOYER:  Yes, sir.
THE COURT:  You are represented by Mr. Jimmy Berry, a lawyer who practices in Marietta?
MS. BOYER:  Yes, sir.
THE COURT:  Ms. Boyer, the grand jury of this County has returned a true bill indictment against you in which it charges you with a number of offenses.

On count one of the indictment you are charged with the offense of murder, and that charge reads: the grand jury of this County charges that you, Christina Boyer, did on the date of on or April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 in Carroll County, Georgia, did then and there unlawfully and with malice aforethought cause the death of Amber Bennett, a human being, by striking Amber Bennett on the head and abdomen, contrary to the laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

In count two of this indictment the grand jury charges you with the offense of murder and it says: said Christina Boyer in the County of Carroll, State of Georgia, on the day of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992, did then and there unlawfully cause the death of Amber Bennett a human being while in the commission of a felony to wit: cruelty to children by maliciously causing Amber Bennett, a child under the age of eighteen cruel and excessive physical pain by repeatedly striking Amber Bennett, contrary to law of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

Count number three charges you with the offense of murder. It charges that Christina Boyer in Carroll County, Georgia, on the date of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 did then and there unlawfully cause the death of Amber Bennett, a human being while in the commission of a felony to wit: cruelty to children by maliciously causing Amber Bennett a child under the age of eighteen cruel and excessive physical pain by failing to seek proper medical attention for Amber Bennett, contrary to laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

[Comment: The above Count Three is the charge that Christina Boyer pled guilty to in her Alford plea agreement with District Attorney Skandalakis on October 24, 1994. She was given a sentence of life in prison. An Alford plea is one in which the accused agrees to plead guilty but maintains their innocence.]

Count four charges you, Christina Boyer, with the offense of aggravated assault. In that count you are charged: in Carroll County, Georgia on the date of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 you did then and there unlawfully and maliciously cause bodily harm to Amber Bennett by seriously disfiguring a member of her body to wit: her pancreas, contrary to laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

[Comment: Christina Boyer also agreed to plead guilty to this charge, which the medical examiner's testimony in the subsequent trial of David Herrin proved to be false. The judge sentenced her to 20 years consecutive to her life sentence.]

Count five charges you with the offense of cruelty to children. In count five you are charged that in Carroll County, Georgia, on the date of on and between April 10th, 1992 and April 14th, 1992 you did then and there unlawfully, maliciously cause Amber Bennett, a child under the age of eighteen cruel and excessive physical pain by failing to seek medical treatment for Amber Bennett, contrary to laws of this State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.

[Comment: David Herrin was found guilty only on this charge, Count Five, and was sentenced to 20 years. The District Attorney earlier removed the death penalty possibility for his case prior to trial; not so with Ms. Boyer, who made her decision to accept a plea bargain based on the possibility of being put to death by the State by electrocution. Ironically, if she had been sentenced to death, her conviction would have received massive re-examination by national legal experts who would have had access to the same court evidence presented on this page.]

THE COURT:  I have not read this verbatim, that is I have not read it word for word, I've paraphrased it somewhat. Do you have any objections to that, Mr. Berry?
MR. BERRY:  No, You Honor.
THE COURT:  You have been charged with all of these offenses by the grand jury of this County. How do you wish to plead to these charges, guilty or not guilty?
MR. BERRY:  Not guilty, Your Honor.
THE COURT:  All right. Do you have a copy of the indictment, Mr. Berry?
MR. BERRY:  Yes, we do, Your Honor.
THE COURT:  And you have gone over these charges with your client?
MR.BERRY:  Yes, Your Honor, I'm in the process of making copies of all of the documents I have in the file for my client at this time.
THE COURT:  She does understand what she is charged with on each count of this indictment?
MR. BERRY:  Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT:  All right, sir, fine. Is there anything else we can do at this time?
MR. SKANDALAKIS:  Your Honor, yes sir, the State has to notify and reaffirm its intention to seek the death penalty.  I've already served notice and that is in the file and Mr. Berry and Mrs. Boyer are aware of that.
THE COURT:  All right. So the State will be seeking the death penalty in this case.
MR. SKANDALAKIS:  Yes, sir.
THE COURT:  All right. I have spoken with Mr. Berry and Mr. Skandalakis and we will be setting a date later for hearings on the motions that have been filed and any other motions that you think you made need to file. You're certainly not precluded from filing any other motions. We will be setting a date and the proper people will be notified as to when that hearing will be held.
MR. BERRY:  Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT:  Is there anything else we need to take up?
MR. SKANDALAKIS:  No, sir, Your Honor.
MR. BERRY: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you all so much. This Court is adjourned for the day.

*           *           *           *           *

Amber Gail Bennett, daughter of Christina Boyer, Christmas 1991
Christmas 1991: Amber Bennett, 3, daughter of Christina Boyer, enjoying a holiday visit at the home of West Georgia University psychology professor William Roll (1926–2012) and his wife Lydia (seated). Boyer and Amber were also acquaintances of the university's former psychology department chairman Mike Arons (1929–2008), who actively advocated for Boyers parole. Photo: William G. Roll.

News Media Article Quotes

1993: Excerpt below from: Creative Loafing weekly magazine, Atlanta, Georgia, June 13, 1993, "Tina's World: Poltergeists and Prison" by Gregg Land. (The magazine also did an earlier July 14, 1990 story focusing on her parapsychology case.)
     For many of those who knew Tina — . . . Lagle, Roll, [both have advanced degrees in psychology] and others — the idea that she could ever allow her daughter to be harmed is inconceivable.

     "My wife and I often had Amber over, partly because we liked the child and partly to give Tina some relief from having to care for her all the time," says Roll. "I never saw her lose her temper around Amber and harm her in any way. She would occasionally discipline the girl by giving her a smack on the bottom, but there was never any indication of that kind of abuse Tina has been accused of by the police."

     "Yeah, I've maybe seen her spank her, but that's all," agrees Lagle. "She wouldn't let anybody harm that child. And she was so hyper, always running into things and falling down — so it sounded very possible to me that all these accidents did happen. . . . And Tina drilled into her, "If anybody ever hurts you, you tell me." . . .

     In the meantime, Tina grows ever more restive as the days creep by and no apparent progress is made in her case. She takes daily medication for nervousness and depression, the psychokinetic outbreaks have not returned, and abuse from her fellow inmates has abated somewhat; still, she wonders how she can be held for alleged abuse that happened when she wasn't present.

     "I'm about ready to give up," she says, her head bowed as she speaks through the small grate below the glass. "I feel like this town's convicted me of something I haven't done — I don't think my lawyer believes me, all he's concerned with is seeing that my civil rights aren't violated, but he doesn't care. . . . I just pray the truth'll come out."
Carroll Star News newspaper logo2008: Excerpt below from: Carroll Star News weekly newspaper, Carrollton, Georgia, January 20, 2008, "The real story of Christina Resch Boyer: Did a 'perfect storm' of events lead to life imprisonment?" by Susan Horn, editor/publisher. (This was a lengthy article that began on the front page; briefly excerpted here. If you would like to read the entire article on a web page click here or provide an email address and five jpg scans of the article and accompanying editorial as they appeared in the newspaper will be sent, 2.59 MB.)
On October 24, 1994, twenty-five year old Christina "Tina" Resch Boyer entered an Alford Plea in a Carroll County court to the felony murder and aggravated battery of her three year old daughter Amber Bennett. Because of her plea, there was no costly trial. She was subsequently sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. As of now, she has served 15 and 1/2 years and is currently incarcerated at Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Georgia.

     This may be the end of this tragic story for prisoner #0000810071, save for the announcement at some future date by prison authorities that Tina Boyer has died. But in a time when seemingly every few months someone is featured in the news as having been exonerated of a crime due to new testing of DNA, recanting of stories by eyewitnesses, or revisiting of the case by authorities, perhaps the time, too, has come for Christina Resch Boyer. . . .

     According to the state's official website (www.pap.state.ga.us) the State Board of Pardons and Paroles is a part of the executive branch of Georgia's government, authorized to "grant paroles, pardons, reprieves, remissions, commutations, and to restore civil and political rights." . . .

     A "perfect storm" of oppressive events seems to have occurred with Christina Resch Boyer at the epicenter. But when it's all sifted through, this is the story of a young woman who pleaded and accepted punishment for a murder that happened when she wasn't present.  (full article)
Carroll Star News article on Christina Boyer

---  Where Is Amber Gail Bennett Buried?  ---
Amber Gail Bennett gravesite     Amber Gail Bennett gravesite
Amber was buried in the Carrollton City Cemetery in Carrollton, Georgia on April 18, 1992 in a grave donated by the city and a casket, funeral, and other items donated by local businesses. Boyer's mother, Joan Resch, could not afford the cost of returning Amber to Ohio where she was born. Amber's headstone displays her name, date of birth, and date of death. She was born on September 29, 1988 and lived three years, six months, and 14 days. She was buried in the pink Easter dress that her mother Christina had purchased for her to wear during Easter church service that coming Sunday. Here is a quote from the photographer who visited the gravesite: "Amber's grave is located, as you look at the cemetery from the main highway through Carrollton, to the left and about 60% of the way to the rear on a hillside. There is a florist shop nearly directly across the street." Date photographed: December 16, 2005. Credit photographer: John M. Riggle.  © James A. Conrad. Permission is granted for news media to use, cropping okay.

Amber's gravesite listed on Find a Grave.com:
(photos appearing there were first published on an earlier version of this web page).
findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13593696

Note to news media:
http://www.cpracad.org (Carrollton government website)
The Carrollton City Cemetery is located on Alabama Street and is maintained by the Carrollton Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department. They have said that news media should obtain permission from the department director before shooting footage there. The city can provide a guide. Basically, they just want to be certain that no disrespectful use of the public cemetery takes place. People visiting the cemetery and taking photographs for personal use do not need permission. The cemetery is open to the public and there is no fence surrounding it.


---  Contacting Christina (Tina) Boyer in Prison  ---
If you would like to write to Christina Boyer, do not send her postage, writing materials, a return envelope, or anything held together with staples or paper clips. She has to purchase mail supplies in prison. Do not send pictures of maps, drugs, weapons, violence, etc. Larger items like magazines, books, gifts, etc., require a special form and advance permission. She enjoys receiving tourist picture postcards and greeting cards from anywhere in the world (do not choose any with small children or a family picture obviously). If you would like a reply and wish to send her a little money to pay for postage and writing materials, do not send cash. Follow the instructions on the website below and let her know you sent a donation to her prison account. Inmates are also allowed to buy snacks from the commissary using their accounts.

http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/InmateInfo/Payments/Payments.html

Christina Boyer's (GA Dept of Corrections) GDC ID: 810071
(Unfortunately, there is a service charge. As with most US prisons, the State of Georgia uses the JPay.com system to process payments.)

It is not necessary to send money to write to her or get a reply back. In fact, in a December 2013 letter she asked to make that clear. She welcomes letters. The experience has been that she writes polite, intelligent, usually handwritten, letters in return. Mail from her is rubber stamped on the back (about the size of two postage stamps) saying it came from "Pulaski State Prison" along with a tiny text message block stating it came from a correctional institution inmate and that the letter was mailed unread by the prison staff. Keep this in mind if you do not want people (family, mail carrier, etc.) knowing that an inmate in a state prison wrote to you. Sometimes the rubber-stamped text is faint or illegible due to the volume of mail being processed. If you do not need a reply and she does not need to save your mailing, then let her know. In fact, she has very little storage space as an inmate and may not be able to save your letter in any case.

She can also receive and send email through the prison-authorized JPay.com system, which costs each side a small amount of money to send. Her state is Georgia and Inmate Number for JPay purposes is 810071. As with all inmates, access to email is a privilege and subject to change.

She is allowed to make 15-minute collect calls from prison through the prison-approved service Global Tele-Link (gtl.net). However, she must first put you on her approved list. Phone access is a privilege and subject to change.

Note: She now prefers the name "Christina" over "Tina," which was her childhood name.

CURRENT PRISON MAILING ADDRESS
Address envelope or postcard as follows and include a return address on the outside. DO NOT include a return envelope, postage, or cash:

Christina Boyer 810071  [810071 is her Georgia Dept of Corrections number, also her JPay account number.]
Pulaski State Prison ESC  [ESC is the Dorm location. This has changed over the years.]
PO Box 839
Hawkinsville GA 31036-0839

GEORGIA BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES ADDRESS

Mailing Address (or click on Contact link on the web page below):
https://pap.georgia.gov/contact-us

State Board of Pardons and Paroles
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909
United States (if from outside the country)

If writing to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, include this information in the body of your letter (not on the outside of the envelope) so that they know which inmate you are writing about:

Inmate: Christina Boyer
Case #: 336633
GDC ID: 810071


Links


Coincidences and Items of Note

  • In 1992, the year Boyer was arrested and held without bail in the county jail to await trial, the most powerful storm of the Pacific hurricane season was named Hurricane Tina. It caused no damage to life or land and lasted from September 17 to October 11, 1992, a record 24 days. It was also the 24th storm of the season. In 1994, on October 24, Christina Boyer pled guilty to avoid the death penalty by way of an Alford-type plea (a plea in which innocence is asserted), agreed to by District Attorney Pete Skandalakis representing the State of Georgia and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge William F. Lee, Jr on that day to life in prison plus 20 years.
  • In 2002, Governor Roy Barnes of Georgia (1999-2003) appointed District Attorney Pete Skandalakis as a special prosecutor to investigate corruption allegations involving the Georgia Parole Board and, later in a widening probe, the then Attorney General Thurbert Baker (term: 1997 - 2011). The investigations cleared the Attorney General completely but resulted in the resignation of the then Parole Board Chairman Walter Ray and resignation and successful prosecution of Parole Board member Bobby Whitworth. Both Board members Ray and Whitworth were against Boyer's 1999 parole bid.
  • In 2003, District Attorney Pete Skandalakis's cousin, Mitch Skandalakis, a former Fulton County Commission Chairman and once-candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was convicted of lying to the FBI during a corruption investigation of actions taken while he was a Commissioner. Mitch Skandalakis, also an attorney, was subsequently disbarred in 2005. Sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 17, 1994: "District attorney says family ties won't play role in annex hearing"
  • In 2004, Jack T. Bell, who in 1992 was the Sheriff who arrested Boyer and Herrin and was now at age 73 a retired Carroll County Commission Chairman, was out on May 21 doing volunteer grounds maintenance on a field for the County operating a large mowing tractor (bush hog), when he got off to check something and it unexpectedly kicked into gear and ran over him fatally. Obituary: Villa Rica Voice | AP article.
  • In 2008, attorney Kenneth W. Krontz, who, 13 years earlier in 1995 at defendant David Herrin's trial had jokingly asked Boyer on the witness stand to perform an act of telekinesis by making a yellow highlighter pen move, died of an undisclosed reason at age 56. Source: Douglas County Sentinel, April 30, 2008: "Ken Krontz — Obituary
  • If you are aware of any other unusual coincidences or items of note, please submit them.

About the author: James A. Conrad is co-author of "Filmmaker's Dictionary" (2000) with Emmy Award-winning producer Ralph S. Singleton and author of "The Model-Actor's Dictionary" (1988).

This web page was originally published on January 20, 2006 at the addresses jamesaconrad.com/Tina/Tina-Resch-Boyer-case.html and jamesaconrad.com/Tina/Tina-case-Page2.html. It was subsequently transferred to this address. On March 12, 2016, it was updated with new material and republished. Earlier versions can be found in the Internet Archive. Contents copyright © 2006, 2016 James A. Conrad except where noted. All images are Copyrighted © to their respective owners. Please report any nonworking links.

How to cite this page:
Conrad, James A. March 12, 2016. The Tina Resch / Christina Boyer Legal Case. Available online at http://jamesaconrad.com/Tina/Tina-Resch-Boyer-legal-case.html; accessed [month] [day], [year].

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