February 23rd, 2009
12:30 PM ET

Only woman on Florida's death row

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/23/art.cole.deathrow.jpg caption="Tiffany Cole was sentenced from Duval County on March 6, 2008 and is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

"I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I'll be back."

Those were the final words of Aileen Wuornos. Moments later, the serial killer died by lethal injection. The date was October 9, 2002. Wuornos was the last woman executed in Florida.

Tiffany Cole may be next.

It is a dubious distinction for the 27-year-old. For there are 393 condemned inmates in the state. But Cole stands alone as the only female prisoner on Florida's Death Row.

The crime was barbaric. Along with three men, Cole kidnapped, robbed and then murdered a disabled couple. The details reveal the extent of the victims' suffering. During the court proceedings, the jurors were told the couple could be heard moaning in a shallow grave while dirt was being shoveled on top of them. Two of Cole's co-defendants were also sentenced to death. A fourth was spared his life. He was given a lengthy prison term for cooperating with the prosecution.

Cole is on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution Annex. The facility is for women only. She is confined to a 6×9 cell. If and when the death warrant is signed, she will be transferred to a 12×7 death watch cell.

How does she spend her days? Here's what Death Row prisoners are allowed, according to the Department of Corrections:

"Inmates may receive mail every day except holidays and weekends. They may have cigarettes, snacks, radios and 13" televisions in their cells. They do not have cable television or air-conditioning and they are not allowed to be with each other in a common room. They can watch church services on closed circuit television. While on Death Watch, inmates may have radios and televisions positioned outside their cell bars."

She also has time on her hands. Cole's first day on Death Row was March 7, 2008. But the average wait before execution is about 12-years.

If Cole is put to death, she will be only the third woman in the history of Florida executed. In addition to Aileen Wuornos, there was Judias Goodyear Buenoano. Known as the "Black Widow," she poisoned her husband and drowned her paralyzed son. Buenoano was sent to the electric chair on March 30, 1998.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (102 Responses)

    I am against the Death Penalty – What would Jesus do? Jesus would forgive her of her sins and she would repent. I think like in prison is more appropiate. Praise the Lord!

    February 24, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  2. Deb

    I have mixed feelings over the death penalty. Someone like John Couey or Scott Peterson certainly deserves death, but so does Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer and because of a plea deal he gets life, I know it's bound by laws, maybe there should be a federal regulation governing death penalty, if you commit a murder, and fall into the guidelines, it's bon voyage, after your 1 automatic appeal, within 12 months. Thanks

    February 24, 2009 at 9:46 am |
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