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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)
  1. Maria

    Um.... why is this getting public? How many MEN are also awaiting death penalty for crimes sometimes even worse than hers, but no one mentions them?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  2. Cindy

    Boo hoo for the loneliest woman on death row. I'm quite sure that those were victims the loneliest people in shallow graves.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  3. Gina

    I for one, don't care what her mental status is, what's gone on in her life prior to what she did. The point is, she gave up her card to be part of the human race when she buried two people ALIVE.

    We spend too much time as it is listening to the sad stories of criminals. The point of the matter is, they know the rules, they broke them. It wasn't self defense; it was barbaric and inhuman.

    They don't deserve a/c, cable television, a radio or heck a magazine. They aren't part of my human race any longer. I personally don't care how big (or how small their cell is) and the fact they have little to no human contact. Again, they gave that all up when they made the decision to take another life.

    I think 12 years is way too long. 12 months, yes. Give them their automatic appeal and then put them out of our misery.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  4. Kace

    Why do they need to wait an average of 12-yrs before execution? The people she murdered were innocent people. They should give her 24-48 hours to prepare for death, which I mean she didn't give that couple that, and get it over with!! Tax payers are paying for her to sit there for who knows how long! She is actually better off than some poor people! She has no taxes, no bills, doesn't have to work to put a roof over her head, has her food prepared for her, and most have access to acheive a higher education!! Give her a day or two and carry out her sentence.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  5. Katalin

    Funny....in a third world country, SWEETANGLEBLUE, many have no t.v., food, running water, medication, housing, mail....shall I go on? That is more like torture, no?

    I however do feel that with all the new technology that is being used by forensics and other agencies many cold cases are being solved and dna evidence is clearing innocent victims sitting in prison's.

    I to would feel rage upon someone that would harm anyone that I hold dear, however we need to be sure the right person sits the time. I don't think I could live with that choice if ten years later dna clears them.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  6. Kellie

    Anonymous-Compassion?? How much compassion did she show to the victims while she buried them alive? She deserves to die the same way, being put to sleep by an injection will NEVER compare to the brutal and cruel way she killed these people. I am a very happy mother of 2 boys, I go to church every Sunday and pray that God forgives ME for NOT being able to forgive the worthless woman that killed my brother. The only HATE I have in my life at all is for a murdering thief who killed my brother. Before someone is found guilty of a capital murder they undergo psychiatric testing. She knew what she did and she knew it was wrong..she made her decision.

    Lots of people who were raised in homes with zero compassion do not decide to murder to innocent people. So think long and hard tonight about what it would feel l ike to see your mother, brother, sister, father, etc will bullet holes in their head, now multiply that pain x 100 and you still cant come close to the true pain murderers cause.

    Lack of understanding? I think not.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I am very sorry for the people who lost their lives as a result of this crime, and for anyone who has lost a loved one to a violent crime. However, I am absolutely amazed and the seemingly lack of willingness to make an effort to understand this woman, or God forbid, forgive her. We don't know what was going on in her life, we don't know if she's mentally ill, we don't know much about the case at all. I hope to God that if any of you are ever caught in a horrible situation such as this, in whatever way you got there, that someone will be able to show you forgiveness and compassion–the same forgiveness and compassion that is lacking here in these comments. Hate and disgust will not get you very far in life. Maybe had someone shown her forgiveness and compassion early on in life, she may have taken a different path.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  8. maggie

    I do not believe in keeping them on death row for years. This is what is wrong with our justice system. I agree with Kelly, knowing that the person who died, has to reminded everyday that as a taxpapyer we give them things that we can't afford in our own dailey lives. One year for an appeal and done with it. If this happened to anyone in my family, I'll take care of the criminal and then I can sit for 12 years on death row. My life would be over anyway.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  9. Magnolia

    Is this article meant to make us feel compassionate for this woman? Didn't work for me. I am firm believer in capitol punishment. My own opinion is that their punishment should be to die in the same way they killed their victims. Maybe the fear of being buried alive to suffocate underground should be her punisment for her prison sentence, then bury her like she did her victims.
    I am a christian who believes we have to have a criminal justice system which does not punish the victims, and victims families by usung their tax dollars to coddle the criminal.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  10. Kristen

    Kristen, how can you say this woman is living the "good life" and "being pampered?!" No air-conditioning, no interaction with others, no cable...stuck in a tiny cell all day, can't control her comings and goings... It sounds pretty miserable to me – – I sure as heck don't want to trade places with her! Heaven forbid these people be allowed to smoke cigarettes. I think they're suffering enough!

    February 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  11. Tammi Dee

    I don't see how people who go out and commit these crimes and found guilty should have the opportunity to cry or complain about their situation. They made their choice and knew it was wrong. Did they feel sorry for the victims when they were burying them alive? How about the so called parents who abuse the innocent young children torture them and murder them? These criminals only think about themselves and the innocence of the victims are lost. They deserve what punishment they get and if it's the death penalty then they shouldn't have placed themselves in that situation. God rest the world's innocent victims that lost their lives to these monsters.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  12. kate

    Killing is wrong, be it by your neighbor or government.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Alice Koh - Texas

    Susan,
    If that couple was your own flesh and blood, I would assume you cannot help but feel a little relieved over the death penalty. I don't think you will know if God forgives her or not...but anybody in their right mind on this Earth should not. By the way, I'm also a Christian but how about keeping religion out of it???

    February 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  14. Kellie

    My brother was murdered by an ex-employee, who is a female. She finally confessed after 16 years to shooting him in revenge for being fired for stealing. She murdered him on his 24th birthday. To the people who "do not believe" in the death penalty: How many of you have felt the pain and anguish of seeing your brother or sister (or any loved one for that matter) full of bullet holes? How many of you have had to watch your parents go through a funeral and then watch your entire family cry every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthday/Anniversary? My bet is on none of you, if any. This woman who killed this disabled couple gave up her right to live WHEN SHE CHOSE TO TAKE THE LIVES OF 2 INNOCENT PEOPLE!! Why should she be able to watch TV, smoke cigarettes, AND BREATHE when her victims cannot. I hope her death is every bit as painful as the ones she caused.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  15. Selin

    How can you say that these people "suffer" in jail? Death row inmates are given better treatment over other inmates though their crimes are unspeakable. I hate to tell you Christian people that some of these criminals have NO REMORSE. Your bible does say "Thou shall not kill." But remember, it also says an eye for an eye. She deserves to die. You anti-death penalty people should also rejoice in the fact that she will not suffer like her poor victims. So get over it and let the state do what needs to be done.

    February 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  16. Deb Brwon

    I think they should put her to death right away, never mind the 12 years that the taxpayers are supporting this animal! At least should can not do this to anyone else. THe family can forgive her and her friends from the grave. Just think what HER mother is thinking of HER daughter now! I bet she is not the apple of her daddies eye now.

    February 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  17. salma khan

    These incidents are heart rending. What is right and what is wrong only the universe knows.

    Only a very very sick mind can do what she did. Is putting such people to death the correct thing or treating them for mental sickness?

    Is it correct to spend so much money on prisons when deserving students cannot find money for college, health care and the list goes on and on and on.

    Wating for death is not the answer, such a waste for everyone. In fact death is a blessings, to be rid of problems forever.

    Should not such people be made to work for the rest of their lives under controlled conditions so that they actually contribute back to society?

    February 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  18. russ

    With all due respect who cares if they are lonely or bored etc.
    They had no thoughts for their victims so why should i ( or we ) be concerned about them?
    Sorry if i sound callous but if they dont like it let them drop their appeals , which also cost the taxpayer a lot of money, and take their punishment.

    February 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Randy

    I agree with Kristen, except I don't think you went far enough. as far as I am concerned, the families of the victims should be the ones who determine the conditions of incarceration, and should have first dibs on ending their miserable existence on this planet. I see no need for leniency of any kind, nor kindness. If you take a life, the remainder of yours should be suffering. Death should come as a release.

    February 23, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  20. Carroll W

    Its awful what her and her co-defendents did. I think its wrong for people to sit on death row so long. I believe the states like to keep people for as long as they can because the state gets alot of money everyday for the inmates.
    I think its awful to keep someone on death row for so long. i am sure the victims family would like to move on and know that these people can never hurt anyone else.
    as for the previous comment about taking care of people feeding them and having anything they want and pampering. They eat recycled food that is used one day and then you eat off of it for two weeks they ware the same thing day in and out and have no contact with the outside world. They are not treated so well. sitting in a small room day in and out with little to do I am sure is no picnic.
    My prayers are with the victims family.

    February 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  21. steven scott`

    i think that all the privilages she has should be stripped from her. i think she should just be given bread and h2o and confined to her cage for 23.5 hrs a day. that other half hr should be used for showers only.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  22. GF, Los Angeles

    I wish more prisons would enact Sheriff Joe Arpaio's idea of imprisonment. No TV's or radios – all they get is water and a bologna sandwich. Whether on death row or in prison – these people are in there to protect the rest of the citizens from them and shouldn't be treated like they were at a hotel. Shoot if I was diagnosed with an expensive illness – it'd be more beneficial for me to get locked ulp and get treatment then to live on the outside and go bankrupt.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  23. J PARISH

    I belive that if a person is guilty of causing the death of another person by murder then yes give them the needle. But unless there is someone out there that can tell us what is next after death then we have no way of knowing if ith good or bad. My sister was murdered and the person has not been caught, but if he is and is given death I want to see him rot for a while in a 6×9 and let his demon keep him awake at night for at least 10 years

    February 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  24. Alex

    While the crimes this woman and her accomplices committed are graphic and unforgiveable. It is sad that a country that boasts being the leader of the free world, still practices such an archaic policy, that of capital punishment. The ending of her life will not bring back the lives she stole. Taxpayer’s money aside, Death Row with the long appeal process is just as expensive as life. Note to mention, the added social cost of executing an innocent.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  25. Debi from New Brunswick

    Why in the world should this animal's agony be minimalized? That poor couple was tortured, basically buried alive. I agree with Kristen, no tv, no radio, no cigarettes, nothing but the 4 walls until they die. She deserves Nothing.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  26. tracey

    if a jury of their peers has convicted them to death-what takes so long? get it over with the day they are sentenced!! good-bye!

    February 23, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  27. AY

    Kristen, I'm in full agreement with you.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  28. SWEETANGELBLEU

    I was at Lowell Correctional – There are no cigarettes inside. She does not get to smoke – the cell area she is in the crazy people are housed there and literally wail 24 hours a day – the guards go in at least once a day on fullalert and have to pepper spray. It is beyond hell. They do not deliver mail every day – its when a guard gets around to it – as far as the television – yeah three stations maybe four and noone to change it so it stays on whatevver channel they put it on – voume is iffy. She is not living in any kind of special treatment or area so have no doubt she is being tortured.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  29. Ivy's Grama

    She's just keeping the cell warm for Casey Anthony......

    February 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  30. Kim

    I agree with Kristen-Why have compassion for someone who could do such a thing- I personally feel sick that my hard earned dollars are providing her's and others food, cigerettes, tv etc. It's almost like they are rewarded for their wrong doings- They don't have to go work there butts off everyday; They can lounge around and read or watch TV. They don't have to worry about how they are going to buy groceries or pay the electric bill- Heck, they can even get an education! Do you think they are stressing about were the tuition money will come from, like you or I might??? Once someone has committed such an act as they did, they no longer have "rights". They should be treated like the animals they are and terminated from this earth. They are a waste of oxygen and do not deserve to be here. Period....

    February 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  31. Casey

    I agree that the sooner her life is ended the better, but if you say the anticipation of death is more agonizing–why would you want to minimize her agony? She deserves all the agony and pain one could imagine because that is what she caused during her brief freedom in life......I say line them up and go for it. Texas is a great example of not wasting the tax payers time or money.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  32. zelda

    Look.....this person made her choice. She chose to brutally murder people.
    Now she must pay.
    We must remember victims.......HOW they were killed........details. And be reviled by those actions.
    I have no sympathy for her or those like her.
    Again..........it was HER choice to do what she did. NOT the victim's.
    End of story.............

    February 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  33. Teresa

    Save the State the money now and please kill her. People that prey on the needy and disabled aren't fit for society...even prison society. Possibly 12 years of feeding her, medical, housing? Nah... I dont think so.

    I wonder how much money Tiffany and her trio got out of the robbery.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  34. Mary L

    Maybe Casey Anthony will join her on death row.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  35. Lorax

    The only reason I would disagree with you Michael is because their victims did not have the option of an immediate ending of their lives. They were buried alive! So.. Can't wait to see her time come!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  36. Jan

    If Justice will be served, Casey Anthony will be next.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  37. Isabel, Brazil

    Capital punishment is a topic that, really, I am very lost.
    While I think an absurd take the life of a person, when I think of heinous crimes committed, I feel a revolt.

    In Brazil there is the death penalty, but only in theory. The law is totally outdated, and retains the death penalty for some crimes such as treason in time of war. War? Only if the war traffickers (then I could even be in favor) because, in general, Brazil does not know what is that!

    The opposites says, that is not applied effectively, and that as a result, many innocent people are executed. They also say it is a violation of human rights.

    Deep in my thoughts, my coincidence speak high and I'm against.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  38. diana

    I really dont think it should take 12 years to put these people to death. Not only do the taxpayers have to pay for feeding and housing them, but the victims family has to wonder "if this goes on too long, are they gonna get out"? for whatever reason? A death sentence should be within a year at the most. Why delay the inevitable.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  39. Jinx

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for Ms Cole? I'd say her punishment is too good for what she did. I wouldn't have her sitting on death row for 12 years though. That's just a waste of tax payers' money. They should flip the switch now and git 'er done.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  40. jenny

    gotta wonder what took place in their lives, or their genetic make-up, to lead them to do these heinous crimes? How could one do something so horrific, yet still be able to sleep at night? Where is your conscience? Where is your soul? How could someone be so cold blooded, and unfeeling? I think that Aileen Wuornos was clearly mentally not stable. Wouldn't that make her ineligible for a fair trial? She should have been sentence to life for the criminally insane... But this woman who is based on this story, she appears to be not crazy, but a monster.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  41. Yousuf

    I agree with you Micahel "C"...Even though I do not believe in someone else taking another person's life because that person killed someone else. I think ONLY God has the right to punish someone to death or what not. Therefore, I believe punish the guilty person to Life in Prison.....Anticipation of death is much much harder then death itself.

    Not that I agree on what this woman did, killing the disable couple. But I never supported death penalty, and never will. Let god decide the faith of someone this insane.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  42. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    What good is a life for a life? It doesn't bring the dead back. Years ago, a friend was murdered and his parents forgave the murderer as Christ forgave His on the cross. It was a huge gift for all of us in forgiving what was unforgivable until that point. Life in prison thinking about what was done and trying to make amends for who was taken is enough. Taking another's life only brings more pain to others who probably have suffered enough already.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  43. Cynthia Little

    What were your parents thinking when you were concieved?..............
    What a waist of time and now us taxpayers pay for you to contiunue living!

    February 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  44. JAC

    I do not believe in the death penalty but I do believe in life without parole ...ever.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  45. joann

    She deserves to suffer...I hope she goes crazy in there locked up.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  46. Susan

    I'm a Christian, so I cannot abide by the death penalty. Only God could forgive this woman.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  47. Kristen

    Why should they be spared a quick and painless death? Did they have that same consideration for their victims? In my opinion they are enjoying the good life before they die. Fed, clothed, roof over their heads, entertainment, even cigarettes! All that costs money and we on the outside who are sometimes struggling to make ends meet, are being taxed on every cent we make, just to pay for them.

    Think about this: the working parents, siblings and friends of murder victims are paying for the care and pampering of those criminals!

    If the sentence is death, why treat them so well before hand? Let them read old second hand books and eat stale leftovers. No TV, no radio and definitely no cigarettes. That would save the taxpayers an incredible amount of money without infringing on anyone's "rights" !

    February 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  48. Jennifer

    Why would you want to minimize the agony of someone who created so much suffering for others? Let them rot in their cells anticipating their own demise. It may not be an eye for an eye, but at least maybe there is some sense of justice for the victims.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  49. Tina

    I feel death right away is to good for people like that. She needs to suffer just as she made them suffer. Not knowing when they will kill her is better i feel.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  50. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Nothing is mor agonizing than death itself than "the anticipation of death." For what they did-I would minimize their agony-–with the ultimate end-–an immediate end of their lives.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
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