Tami Duvall

At around 8 am on August 24, 2007 Tami Duvall would call 9-1-1 and state that she had come home to find her estranged husband, Alan, in a chair in her back yard dead.  She would tell authorities when they arrived that he had come to her home the evening prior to work on an air conditioning unit. She was quick to let police know that her husband was a very heavy drinker and had apparently slept outside due to his alcohol consumption as well as the fact they were not living together.  It would take investigators nearly three years to build a case but on August 6, 2010 Tami was charged in murder of her husband.

It seems that the local police in Columbus Indiana were suspicious from the get go and Tami did nothing to quell those suspicions.  Not only would she try to prevent an autopsy being performed she was insistent on having his body cremated despite the fact that he had a burial plot already available.  The autopsy was performed however apparently as it was determined that while he did seem to have alcohol in his system, he also had a large amount of a muscle relaxer in his body.  But, neither of those became his official cause of death, that would be based on a lethal dose of morphine. 

The police, friends and family were not the only ones who were suspicious of Tami. So was the insurance company that she expected to pay out on a $100,000 policy. Some information says that this policy was enacted a "short time" prior to his death while other information state it was just a matter of days prior to Alan dying.  It would be discovered that the insurance agent was a man named Gary Ruddell.  Tami and Ruddell, were either currently still having an affair or had had one in the past. Ruddell would never be implicated in Alan Duvall's death and it is not believed that he knew of any plan that Tami may have had regarding his death.  He would testify at her trial that he advised Tami not to attempt to collect on the policy seeing as it was still the "grace period" and would look suspicious.  She did not listen however and the insurance company assigned an investigator to the case that would end up working with the local police.

Between the investigations much would be discovered but lets first start with Duvall's story.  She would initially claim that she had come home, found her husband and nearly immediately called 9-1-1.  Testimony from witnesses would prove this to be untrue.  A local store clerk testified that she had spoken to Tami on that morning sometime before she opened her store at 7 am.  She would say that Tami was acting a bit strangely and when she asked Tami told her that she had found Alan dead that morning.  Just after that it seems she went home and around 7 knocked on her neighbors door.  The neighbor, Jennifer Melton, would testify that before she could get to the door to answer it Tami had already left.  Melton would say she looked out the back door toward Tami's home and saw her outside tying her dogs up.  Garry Ruddell would also testify that at approximately 7:30 Tami had called him and reported to him that Alan was outside and "unconscious."  When confronted with this information by authorities Tami would concede only that she may have made some calls prior to calling 9-1-1 and blamed her memory and reaction on "shock."

It would be reported that Tami would tell detectives that she had served Alan at least two Long Island Iced tea's while he was at her home.  She would reportedly tell Alan's ex wife, Mary that he had not been drinking but then later said he had a beer and one shot.  Tami would tell her son (or possibly he was Alan's son) that he had been drinking tequila all night.  It seems she could not keep her story straight.  

The defense at her April 2011 trial would have to explain how the morphine had gotten into Alan's system.  While it appears friends and family did not dispute too much to the fact that Alan may have drank more than he should of there seemed to be no one that believed he did or had anything to do with drugs of any kind, prescription or otherwise.  At the time of Alan's death Tami was a certified nursing assistant and worked for a home health company.  However, prior to that she had worked in a nursing home.  In March of 2007 the nursing home had documented the disappearance of a nearly full bottle of Roxanol, also known as liquid morphine.  The nurse that had noticed the bottle gone testified that Tami was the only one near the area at the time but she had denied taking the bottle and had blamed it on a relative of a patient who the nurse said had not been there.  

Friends and family of Alan would testify that the couple, while estranged, had significant financial issues and that the home was going into foreclosure.  Some of them also testified that they knew of the insurance policy that Tami had gotten Alan to sign but he had told them that it was mortgage insurance on the home and had told them all that the couple was reconciling.  Friends and family of Tami would testify that she was reporting there was not to be a reconciliation at all.  

During the investigation it was discovered that in June of 2005 Tami had reported a theft of property to her insurance company and had apparently accused ex boyfriend, Stephen Brown.  When Brown had been talked to somehow in the course of the discussion he brought up that he believed that around Thanksgiving of 2004 Tami had attempted to poison him and then get him to sign life insurance documents. This interview was found in the course of the new investigation. Of course Tami's defense attorney's did not want Stephen Brown to testify at her trial and the judge agreed that unless the defense "opened the door" they could not.  However, the prosecution saw their opening as soon as the defense did their opening statement and stated that Alan had taken the lethal dose of morphine himself.  Tami's attorney's would later appeal this issue but what Brown had to say was interesting.  Brown would claim that Tami had come to his home with food and that she had insisted that he eat some pudding stating that her daughter had made it especially for him.  He claimed that it "tasted like aspirin" and that he felt "out of it" for several hours.  It was just after this that Tami had given him some papers that apparently pertained to a life insurance policy making her the beneficiary.  He said after he refused to sign the papers she left his home, making sure to take the bowl and plate she had brought with her.  

On April 22, 2011 a jury found Tami guilty of murder along with several charges pertaining to insurance fraud and obstruction of justice.  In May of 2011 she would be sentenced to 61.5 years.  In 2012 Tami would appeal her conviction and sentencing. The court upheld her murder conviction but had lowered the counts on the insurance fraud and obstruction of justice.  According to the Department of Corrections she received a fifty-five year sentence for murder, four years each on six counts of insurance fraud and 1.5 years each on three counts of obstruction of justice.  Her earliest possible release is not until the year 2040.  


Popular posts from this blog

Matthew Heikkila

Rebecca Simpson

The murder of Jarrod Davidson