The Murder of Jarmecca "Nikki" Whitehead
On January 13, 2010, in Conyers Georgia, two sixteen year old twin teenagers approached a police officer that was paroling the area of their house. The teenagers would say that they had found their mother dead inside the bathtub of their home. When authorities arrived there was no doubt that this was a case of murder. Thirty-four year old Jarmecco “Nikki” Whitehead had been stabbed several times. The wounds would puncture her lungs, her jugular vein, and the back of her neck to the point her spinal cord was nearly severed.
Nikki Whitehead had not been born into the best of situations. She was born inside a prison. Her mother, Lynda was serving time for a drug possession charge and Nikki would be raised by her grandmother, Della Frazier. Nikki herself would be only seventeen years old when she gave birth two twin daughters she would name Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah, better known as Tas and Jas.
According to Frazier, Nikki was involved in her own issues when it came to running with the “wrong crowd” and was a random presence in the lives of her daughters, at least for the first few years. In 2000, when the girls were about five or six years old Nikki and the girls moved from her grandmother's home and in with her boyfriend. According to reports the girls' grades dropped and they began getting into trouble. At this point it seems Frazier was given custody of the girls. In 2007 once again the now thirteen year olds were living with their mother but that did not seem to last long. In 2008 a fight between Nikki and the girls in which Nikki was injured prompted a judge to send them back to live with Frazier. By 2010 Nikki was attempting custody again and on January 5th the court ordered a two week trial with Nikki because the girls were resisting. It was said that in a counseling session Jas had stated “If I have to move back with her, I'll kill her.” Nikki argued to the courts that she felt that the girls were not getting the discipline or rules needed while living with her grandmother. While without knowing the people and the situation completely or knowing if Nikki was prepared to be a parent, I know of situations in which she talked. First, Frazier was the girls' great-grandmother so she had to be close to 70 years old. She had already raised her daughter and her granddaughter. For the most part she had raised these two sixteen year old. Regardless if she was a good mother to her own child, by now she's old and doesn't have the energy to chase after or discipline these girls, so Nikki was likely right in that aspect. Then there was the flip side of that. According to the girls they felt Nikki was nothing less than a hypocrite. She accused the girls of being sexually active, using marijuana and skipping school. The girls did not necessarily deny these accusations but would point out that at the time of her death Nikki was living with one boyfriend and had another boyfriend too. They also alleged that Nikki smoked marijuana on a regular basis. So was Frazier right too?
Although authorities were suspicion of Tas and Jas very early on due to their demeanor towards their mother's death and the fact that they appeared to have injuries of their own, it took some digging before they found anything substantial. They would learn about all of the custody changes; they would also read notes from the juvenile court counselor assigned to their case. The counselor alleged that “this is a family that thrives in chaos;” All members- mom, great-grandmother, and girls, struggle to take their own responsibility for family stress. The adults in this family have failed to guide these children properly.” Four months after the murder, on May 21st the twins were arrested.
They would both eventually confess and tell their version of things. According to Tas, the girls woke up late for school on the morning of January 13th and found Nikki in the kitchen. She would claim that Nikki hit Jas with a pot and that she, Tas, wrestling with Nikki to get the pot from her. Tas claims that Nikki then got a steak knife and threatened the girls. The girls were able to over power her and Nikki ran out of the house to get help from a neighbor. When the neighbor was apparently not home Nikki returned and at first just sat down but then lunged at Tas with a knife. It was then that the two girls attacked her repeatedly, not just with the knife but by also beating her with a vase. She would be stabbed in excess of eighty times.
Eventually both girls would plead guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter, falsification in government matters and possession of a knife in the commission of a crime. Tas would plead in January of 2014 while Jas did the same the following month. They would both receive a sentence of thirty years. According to the Department of Corrections if they each serve their maximum sentence they will be released in 2040. However, according to a note from Wikipedia they are eligible for parole in 2017. To be fair the Department of Corrections did not state this but it was also a site with limited information.
I have seen a few documentary crime shows on this case and it is widely reported that both girls have finished high school while in prison. Jas was the “valedictorian” of her class. She should be commended for her accomplishments. And, while I am glad to see the support that they receive from their family I am also on the fence with this family. As I said before I do not know these people personally to know just how the dynamics of this family are, but I feel there was a lot of excuses given to these girls, both before and after they murdered their mother. I get the impression that the counselor was correction about taking responsibility in this family and the fact that Nikki was no longer alive to defend herself made her a good scapegoat. Many people had a hand in how these girls turned out. Was Nikki responsible in the fact that she apparently did not step up to the plate early enough in their lives to be the central figure in their lives? Was Della Frazier responsible for still being “grandma” when her primary role should have been parent in which discipline and rules were enacted? And what about Lynda Whitehead, Nikki's mother? Where was she in all of this and did she start this vicious cycle? No one will ever know.