In 2000 Tammy Vance, Leigh Stubbs, and Kimberly Williams left a drug treatment Center. Tammy and Leigh had finished treatment. Kimberly decided to “skip out.” They drove to Kimberly’s boyfriend’s home. While there Kimberly stole her boyfriend’s prescription drugs. These were some heavy duty painkillers. Sadly, Tammy relapsed and took some of the drugs with Kimberly. They also drank. They were heading to Tammy’s mother’s home.
They stopped at a motel and went to sleep. The next morning Tammy and Leigh went to get breakfast. Kimberly was still in the bed sleeping. Tammy and Kimberly came back and waited. Soon they noticed Kimberly was not moving. They tried to wake her and could not. They immediately called and asked for emergency services and they began giving Kimberly CPR. An ambulance took Kimberly to the hospital. She had OD’ed on drugs.
After moving Kimberly to another hospital they discovered a cut on her head. It was never found at the first hospital though they performed a CT scan on Kimberly’s head. This would lead to the conclusion that Kimberly was injured in the transfer to another hospital or at the new hospital. Kimberly almost died. She had no memory of the events leading up to the hospital.
Tammy Vance and Kimberly were indicted for Aggravated Assault, Conspiracy to possess Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Commit Grand Larceny. They were convicted after a trial and given a terribly long sentence, approximately 44 years. They would be required to serve the sentence without parole.
I was asked to get involved by The Mississippi Innocence Project. I read the trial transcript and believed that it was a terribly unfair trial. Tammy and Leigh had not been given a fundamentally fair trial. One of the most striking parts of the trial was the testimony of Michael West, a supposed forensic dentist who was known to provide false testimony. Mr. West had made an interpretation of a grainy video tape from the motel where the ladies stayed. Mr. West’s testimony was nothing less than outrageous. Why do I say that? Because Mr. Stubbs had made a Freedom on Information Request to the F.B.I. and learned that the F.B.I. had also analyzed the videotape and came to the complete opposite conclusion from Michael West.
So what’s the problem with the F.B.I. reaching a different conclusion? Witnesses disagree all the time, right? Well the problem is that the prosecutors never told the defense lawyers about the F.B.I. report when the case went to trial. Not turning over the F.B.I. Report to the defense lawyers was a clear violation of M ississippi Criminal Discovery Rules and U.S. Supreme Court cases. I filed a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief claiming Tammy had not been given a fair trial. The Trial Court granted my motion and let Tammy and Leigh out on bond. We have resolved the case and Tammy and Leigh are now free and this terrible ordeal is behind them. They are living with their families.