News section — The Christina Boyer Legal Case
(Scroll down for main article.)Update: Christina Boyer was denied parole in 2018. However, instead of having to wait a full eight years for the next mandatory consideration, she was informed that her next review would be in September 2019. 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 and issue a pardon or parole 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. James A. Conrad's Twitter petition project: twitter.com/TinaPetition
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).
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). Here is photographer Jan Banning's web page on Boyer, which includes emails from her published with her permission and a September 29, 2016 public Facebook post he also wrote.Boyer was born and raised in Ohio. Criminal Defense Resources in Ohio: Dayton Criminal Law Clinic | Ohio State Criminal Law | Criminal Defense Attorney Dayton
|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.|
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.
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.
|Christina Boyer (on far right), 22, with her daughter Amber, 3, in Georgia, November 28, 1991, visiting friends Dr. William 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 at a country club in Villa Rica, Georgia, USA on November 28, 1991. Photo provided by Lydia and William G. Roll.|
Many things about this legal case are troubling:
"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
|Christina Boyer has been in jail / prison in this case since the age of 22. She was officially arrested on April 15, 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.|
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 Resch or Tina Resch. Middle name is sometimes misspelled Elaina. Birthdate: October 23, 1969. After being abandoned at a hospital in Columbus Ohio as a 10-month-old infant, she was placed by Child Services with one of their local foster families, the Resches, and when her biological mother or relatives could not be found, the Resch family legally adopted her at age two. At age 14 in March 1984, she achieved some nationwide fame 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 19, less than a month before turning 20, when Amber was born. The name of Amber's biological father is known privately and Boyer says he has expressed support for her release from prison; however, his identity will not be revealed on this web page without his permission. Find a Grave (The photos of Amber appearing on the findagrave.com website are authentic and were downloaded from an earlier version of this web page by someone on that site.)
David Herrin . . . Boyer's new boyfriend of less than two months in early 1992 and who was babysitting Amber when she died. Boyer had been dating Herrin for a month and a half to two months, but knew him for a period of time before that as an acquaintance because he had been dating a friend of hers. He was age 29 on April 14, 1992. Full name: David Paul Herrin, also known as David P. 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 Boyer's 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.
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
(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, 2012, and 2016. His term each time was four years. In the 2004 election, he switched his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. In October 2017, he announced he was resigning to become the Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia. He officially left office on January 3, 2018. 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. When Boyer was on the witness stand on the first day of Herrin's trial to answer questions about what she knew, he placed a pen in front of her and asked her to move it using the power of her mind or as he put it, "If the spirit moves you, Ms. Boyer." He died on April 28, 2008 at age 56, cause of death not available. Obituary.
Jeannie Lagle . . . The licensed professional counselor with a masters degree in psychology 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, North Carolina who assisted Dr. William Roll in the investigation of Tina's telekinetic past when she was known as teenager Tina Resch and had visited the university laboratory there to be studied. Lagle was also known as Jeannie Lagle Stewart then and today, Jeannie Lagle Dollar, a speech-language therapist. Mentioned in the book Unleashed and parapsychological journals. 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 and early morning hours of April 15, 1992. 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. 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 and early morning hours of April 15, 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 15, 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. A photograph of Carswell, Herrin, and Ashley was presented at the trial during her testimony. It was taken three years before Amber's death while Herrin and Carswell were still married.
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 the 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 . . . Twelve jurors decided Herrin's case and a unanimous verdict was required on each of the five counts in the indictment. Boyer and Herrin were charged with the same crimes. Boyer pled guilty to two counts and the jury convicted Herrin of one count (counts in the indictment are available at the bottom of this web page). There were twelve jurors and two alternate jurors. Only four names of the fourteen jurors are known because they were named in the court transcripts. The alternate jurors were "Susan H. Nelson" and "Ms. Gladden." After the prosecution presented its case, a male juror, "Mr. Nolan," notified the Court that he thought he was coming down with the flu and a female alternate juror, "Ms. Nelson," was assigned to take his place. The alternates were already in the courtroom and aware of the testimony aleady given. The jury foreperson who read the verdict was "William F. Smith."
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 counselor 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.
|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.|
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 United States without the necessary commercial driver's license. According to Boyer, he never told her that he had been fired. He just left each morning as usual as if he was going to work. She learned about it after their arrests. (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.
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 was not a regular church-goer otherwise. He unfortunately chose to pay for cable TV service for his trailer instead of a potentially life-saving telephone. Again, when he mentions "church" he is referring to the special occasion of the Easter holiday, not weekly attendance, but being a regular church-goer may have been the impression he and his lawyer wanted to convey to the jury. (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.Herrin gets caught in a discrepancy about his own preference for taking a bath versus a shower. At his 1995 trial, he first discusses Ashley, his three-year-old daughter who visited on weekends and whom he would give a bath. In the second quote from a police interview on the night Amber died in 1992, he discusses having given Amber a bath on the last weekend she stayed at his trailer with Boyer. (2 quotes):
Krontz: Did Amber have a bath on Monday do you think?
Herrin: It seems like she did, yes, sir. 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 19–22, February 2, 1995.Herrin: Well, like I said, she'd been there all weekend, took a, been bathing in my bathtub, see, I take a shower, I don't never take a bath, just take a shower . . .
— Audiotape-recorded interview of David Herrin conducted by the Carrollton Police Department on the night of April 14, 1992.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?
— 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?
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?
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.
The judge agrees, no serious disfigurement. (1 quote):The Court (Judge Dewey Smith): I think the medical testimony has been such that it was not a serious disfiguring.
D.A. Peter Skandalakis: That's a jury question, your honor. That's not a question for the Court. It's a jury question on whether or not it was a serious injury.
— State of Georgia vs David Herrin, discussion with judge without jury present, case No. 92-CR-448, page 498, lines 1–7.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.)
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.A discrepancy by both Herrin and his ex-wife Kathy Carswell about Amber's appetite on the day she died. The D.A. refers to taped police interviews with Herrin on the night of Amber's death. The detective's notes indicate that after three interviews, Herrin's story had inconsistencies while Boyer's version remained the same. (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?
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.
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 counselor 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 . . .
M.E.: Before death and after injuries are received?
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 counselor 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.)
Boyer testifies on the first day of the trial. Herrin's attorney attempts to use humor to ridicule Boyer by making her seem mentally unstable to the jury because of the claims of spontaneous telekinesis phenomena occurring around her in her teenage past in Ohio and the book she was writing with her counselor friend Jeannie Lagle, who was one of the researchers who investigated her and witnessed some of the phenomena in North Carolina when she visited there at age 14 to participate in laboratory testing. 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 2125; 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.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 counselor 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 the Carroll County jail 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):
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.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?
Krontz: Your lawyer was Jimmy Berry, is that right?
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?
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?
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.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. After she finished testifying, she was returned to the county jail to continue waiting for assignment and transfer to a state of Georgia women's prison. (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.
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.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?
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 GEORGIATHE STATE
CHRISTINA BOYER INDICTMENT NO. 92-CR-447
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
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?
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?
* * * * *
|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.|
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.
2008: 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.
--- Where Is Amber Gail Bennett Buried? ---
Amber's gravesite listed on Find a Grave.com:
Note to news media:
--- 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.
Update June 2017: It has been learned that Boyer is only allowed to have two people listed on her Approved Senders List, (JPay.com article) and Boyer already has two listed. Money is used to buy writing materials, postage, hygiene items, clothing, snacks, etc. See here for more information on sending mail to an inmate in the Georgia prison system. If you would like to donate a small amount of money to Boyer to help her buy prison life necessities (an inmate's account has a maximum limit), the only option at present is to send an email to the webmaster of this website and it will be forwarded to one of the approved senders and the two of you can discuss it further.
Christina Boyer's (GA Dept of Corrections) GDC ID: 810071
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.]
GEORGIA BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES ADDRESS
State Board of Pardons and Paroles
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
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. The Tina Resch / Christina Boyer Legal Case. Available online at https://jamesaconrad.com/Tina/Tina-Resch-Boyer-legal-case.html; accessed [month] [day], [year].