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. Maiya

    To all of you that don't believe in the death penalty and think they should live out life in prison. Do me a favor and send your paycheck to house them for as long as they are in there so my taxes can stop supporting people like this. Let's you pay however much it is out of your own money every year until the person is either released or executed. It's easy to spend other people's money on something until it directly influences you. I think only the people that are opposed to the death penalty should be required to support the ones that sit in prison for life.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  2. Ruth Prock

    Just so you know, none of the amenities like tv, radio, or cigarettes are provided by taxpayers,nor any item from the prison canteen. All must be purchased by the inmate, with funds they receive into their inmate account, from family or friends.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  3. Kim

    I think she needs to stay off the streets. Whether or not they kill her or not, she will meet her maker in the end.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  4. Ruth Prock

    The crime for which Tiffany Cole was convicted, was brutal, heinous, and included mental and physical torture of TWO, decent, innocent, people. All for a few bucks and an old car. It was calculated and callous, and committed with total disregard for the humanity of the victims, their suffering, or the subsequent suffering of their family and friends. Ms.Cole's participation in this crime was completely voluntary, and demonstrates a total absence of compassion and decency. With this crime, by the extreme vileness of its' nature, she has abdicated any right to mercy. If ever there was a case, that required the extreme and ultimate penalty of death, this is it. We must NOT suffer monsters to live among us, not even in a cage. She is certainly monstrous, and certainly deserving of the death penalty, and the long and torturous wait until it is finally imposed.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  5. Walt

    Let's house,feed and cloth them for the rest of there natural lives. We all know taxpayers have nothing else to spend there money on.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  6. helloooooooo!

    the reason why they don't just "put them to death" is because of the possibility that they may be innocent... and yes, there is a possibility.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  7. Lynn

    Are you kidding me?!!!! Television, radio's and cigarettes!!!! In my opinion they give up their rights when they take someone's life. They should have an empty cell!!

    February 24, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  8. angel

    i think that in thais country peopole get off to easily. so whatever you do to someone it should be done to you.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  9. Scott

    Having compassion for the condemned does not make a person weak. I do believe that there are crimes that need to be paid for with capital punishment. If being executed isn't enough punishment, what is? I think that any further punishment or judgement is for a higher pay grade than mine.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  10. Donna

    They should do to her what she did to her victims, I do not feel sorry for this woman. All have to say is Goodbye, Good riddance.
    When it's her time to die dig a hole and throw her in it, the world
    will be rid of another monster.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  11. traci

    I beleive she will get what she deserves, justice may take a while,but it is coming. Feel for the families of the victims, they will suffer the hurt of her actions for the rest of there lives. I think you get what u give in this life, she has not been given what she deserves yet but its coming. I agree with the earlier comment by another. She should not be allow to view TV, or have cigarettes for that matter. We as a people are paying for her to have these things, to keep her in her cell, paying for her to await her justice. Did she give her victims justice or the chance to change their minds before she did what she did? No........she has given up her rights by committing this horrible crime with out any regard for human life. What kind of people raised her?
    There is no excuse for what she has done, they should end it for her now. What does waiting do? Give her time to think about what she has done......she should of thought of that berfore chose to end to innocent peoples lives!!!

    February 24, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  12. Anon

    It's this simple.....the most practical answer for all of these scum is to hire those upstanding citizens who are unemployed and pay them an hourly wage to dig a hole. Throw all rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and other violent criminals into it. Cover up the whole and be done with them. It's practical and cost effective. Plus, our government would be creating jobs, deterring crime, and getting rid of the prison overcrowding situation. Enough with this democratic liberal hug a thug mentality.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  13. Emy

    I feel she should have a stay for one year. She has been sentence by her peers. She should answer to her maker. This should be for all those who without a shadow of a doubt have been found guilty.
    Granted in the past a person has been found innocent because of DNA testing. Well, now we have the means of DNA testing and there is no room for mistake. One year is enough time for lawyers to place a plea in for their clients. The judge has the last ruling. May God have mercy on your soul. We must answer to the Almighty. So let it be written, so let it be done. My prayers will be with her, that she comes to know Him that gave His life for her, because He loved her. I also pray for the couple they killed and their family.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  14. Jay

    to all those opposed to the death penalty for religious reasons, I want you to stop what your doing and ask god for 50$. please tell me when it comes to you.

    I hope you never have to know what its like to lose someone at another persons hands.

    This woman is a mutant animal that deserves to rot in hell and should be burned alive.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  15. Catherine Kroetsch

    We go hip hip hurray, weapons of mass destruction (not!) and send 19 year old boys to their death and we sit here and discuss the rights and wrongs of the death penalty. We slaughter animals. We allow children to die of hunger daily. And then we profess to live a life dictated by a Jesus. Go back to your T.V's!

    February 24, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  16. Drew

    Magnolia said: "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."

    The way we punish American criminals is what separates us from those that did the slaughtering.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  17. R. Spiker

    Message to all right to life, turn the other cheek, no death penalty folks.
    Life is not just taking in air and having your heart beat. It dosen't matter how you got to this juncture in your life. It dosent matter if exterminating vermin will "not bring back the dead". I am very sorry for a rabid dog but I would not hesitate to shoot it . There is no cure for these people and while you can regret the treatment you must mete out you have to man up and do it for the good of the whole. If it helps your concious go out and save a 1-2 year old in an intolerable home situation that breeds this kind of feral human. Do it before you have to man up and eliminate the threat.

    February 24, 2009 at 7:01 am |
  18. Jim

    Anyone who is undeniably guilty of a murder should not be placed on 'death row'. A death signature should be issued as quickly as a search warrant and acted on. There should be no appeals for this unless there is evidence to prove otherwise.

    The inmate should not be provided with any means of entertainment, such as radios or TV. They should be given a meager amount of food, enough sustenance for survival and nothing more, and certainly nothing of great value should be provided. Clothing should be standardized and they should not be permitted to leave the cell for any reason.

    Lethal Injection should be revised so that it does not incapacitate the victim into coma, and just inject them with the paralyzing and poison agents, and do not waste time rubbing an alcohol swab to clean the area prior to injection.

    The electric chair should be brought back as a suitable means of death, and if you want to push it, bring back firing squads.

    Humane to those who killed mercilessly and to those who would show you none? Let them burn.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:39 am |
  19. Jasmine

    I say lethal injection is like anesthesia before a procedure or surgery. A deep sleep where no pain is endured. It is a shame "Sparky" the electric chair was removed from Florida. I can't imagine or want to think of the horrific painful death these victims suffered without mercy. I believe many oppose to the death penalty would change their tune if they would have to sit through a trial and endure the step by step grusome details of how a loved one was taken from them while the accused sits there with a smirk on their face. All I can say to those on death row is you are parasites unworthy of breathing the air on this planet!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:35 am |
  20. Tonnie

    I can imagine few things worse than being buried alive and knowing your loved one is going through it too... my God!
    You're right, Sweet, that cigarettes are not allowed, that was really misleading! And even if inmates do get (limited) tv priviledges and regular meals, you can bet they still suffer greatly.
    I've witnessed what a day in the life on death row consists of, and this story just doesn't depict that accurately.
    The noises, the sounds of the criminally insane, are horrific. The smell is even worse. And something about seeing nothing but metal and concrete... it's an atmosphere undescribable, really.
    It's as close to hell as you'll find on earth.
    I absolutely agree that such a place is exactly where Cole belongs until she's put to death, without question.
    But death row is not the Club Med so many news articles try to convey it to be.
    And I like that idea of not telling the inmate when their death will occur, it's really pretty clever. Instead of waking up and KNOWING they'll live through the day, they'd have to awaken and begin wondering. I think that's suitable, particularly under these circumstances.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:34 am |
  21. Glenn Henshaw

    When bad people receive a taste of what they did to others, like when murderers are put to death, we all tend to feel better. But our feelings are not enough of a reason to end a person's life. If it feels good do it, huh?

    February 24, 2009 at 3:21 am |
  22. Zach

    Although she committed a crime, who are we to judge her for what she did? What right do we have to decide her fate? I'm not saying that she shouldn't be punished for what she did because she should be, but the only person that should be able to decide her fate should be God.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:05 am |
  23. lacey, nm

    for anyone who can kill another human being, they deserve to die for what they did to their victims. this woman does not deserve to live when the people she killed died so horribly. the U.S. has the death penality for a reason. i dont believe that this woman has the right to live anymore, she lost that right when she helped to kidnap, rob, and then murder those people. and why are there people out there in this world who care if when she dies that she not suffer. what about her victim, do those do gooders care that the victims suffered, that they were buried alive? she deserves more the what the state of florida will give her

    February 24, 2009 at 1:52 am |
  24. Saddened

    How can you feel compassion for anyone who has done this horrible, horrible crime? I am not against the death penalty........nor am I against life without parole.......when it means exactly that. I agree with the comment about Sheriff Arpaio's treatment........why when you break the law should you be given privileges. Prison is supposed to be a punishment for committing a crime, not being rewarded for it. I feel that to many times people forget about the victims rights. Did they ask to be killed? Did they ask to be buried alive? It is not my place to judge true enough, but, it is not me who has to forgive them either. If this was your mom and dad, sister, brother, grandparents, etc.. could you honestly sit there and feel sorry for her? Would you be worried about her rights being violated? Would you want her back out on the street so that someone else could possibly be tortured and killed? And that is the key question, if she did something this horrific once, can you absolutely guarantee without a doubt that it wouldn't happen again if she was released? True enough life is not fair, but, life is what you make of it........if you think that she should be shown mercy, then by all means, be her pin pal.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  25. Renee McLean, Labrador City, Lab. Canada

    No mail on weekends? Why not save some taxpayers money, and do absolutely nothing on the weekends? Make the inmate suffer, and have the kitchen staff leave on Fridays, and not return until Monday? Let her drink toilet water all weekend. So who really cares if somehow, she gets sick or dies over the weekend? Then, save even more money by just putting her in a garbage bag, and throw her in the dumpster where she belongs.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  26. Billy J

    Bring back the electric chair, leathal injection is not a deterant.

    You can even make it green by hooking it up to a windmill.

    Billy J.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  27. willadon

    I say let the family or familys of the victims create the punishment or form of death.

    I have not one once of sorrow for anyone who made that choice to do what they did.

    It's a total waste of taxpayers money to payfor it all lets make it a pay per view hell in this world it would make millions lol

    February 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  28. Lisa

    The death penalty is hypocritical. We do not have the right to take the life of someone when they have taken the life of another. It is illogical. While these crimes are totally barbaric, we do not have the right as human beings to make that call. We choose to live in a civilized society, and the cost of living in a civilized society assumes the cost of the legal system...as frustrating and painful as that is.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  29. Realist

    I do not believe in God...So with that said...The only punishment these criminals will have is at the hand of man...The trash should suffer while they are alive and make their death slow and agonizing...Public hangings would put some respect of the law back into the minds of criminals...The system has gotten too soft on these psycopaths...

    February 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  30. Natalie

    Why would you ever give anyone like that any respect. I dont think that we should kill them because that put us on their level. but i sure as hell dont think we should pay for them to rot in prison the rest of theri lives either they dont deserve it. Killers need to be loked away and forgot FOREVER let them die of starvation before we spend money putting them to sleep like an animal...

    February 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  31. JAX

    ALICE- KOH ((Texas)

    If that were my flesh and blood that this woman killed....Well lets just say Tiffany Cole would be RUNNING to the lethal injection and strapping herself to gurney. You know what I'm saying???

    February 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  32. Kathy, NC

    While I would like to think that the death penalty is outdated.... Murder like this can only be punishable by the death penalty.

    What this woman did was out right torture, she does not deserve to have the rest of her life spared to live in prision. Why should the innocent tax payers be left to foot her bill when she killed these innocent people.

    Someone needs to think of what she did to them and let her die the same way.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  33. Myshel

    As the saying goes....you reap what you sow or what goes around comes back around....that cell is a great place...disabled victims...wow that is about is low as a child molester!

    February 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  34. Joe

    For those of you that are christian, God ordained government to reward those who do good, and punish those who do evil 1 Peter 2:13-14. in the case of the death penalty, that is how the government decided to punish those on death role.
    If you are concerned about the commandment that says " thou shalt not kill" look a little closer at the translation, many scholars would agree that the commandment is " thou shalt not murder".
    Therefore, because it is role of the God ordained government to punish those who do wrong, and it the command is to not murder. I find it completely acceptable for someone to be put to death for his or her crimes.
    Finally, I think it best to kill those convicted as quickly as possible. they will have the rest of eternity whether in heaven or hell to consider their actions. plus why waste tax money on keeping criminals alive, when it could be spent on preventing crimes.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm |
  35. zelda

    No Marie...but the death penalty sure stops THAT murderer from doing it AGAIN. now doesn't it?

    Let's not get the Bible in this............good grief.

    What a bunch of religious crap. More murders were done, and are still being done in the name of religion than anything else.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm |

    she's getting out the easy way

    February 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  37. amanda

    Not death TORTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  38. Cat, Richmond VA

    I believe– in theory– in the death penalty, and it certainly seems to apply here. But we as a species (not just as a nation) have never seemed to be able to apply it in a fair and reasonable manner. It seems like every week we read about someone who was sentenced to death on crud evidence and freed only after a prolonged legal fight to have evidence examined that should have been noticed the first time around. And the racial imbalances in death-penalty sentencing are legendary.

    If we want to be a just nation, people like this should be tossed into a deep, deep hole and left there to live out their lives in the despair that they will never see daylight. We'll still have innocent people convicted, of course, but there will be a much longer opportunity to correct the mistake.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  39. Pat

    All of you who say that the wait for her death is better than a quick execution don't realize that this is doing nothing to prevent further crimes. If one knew that they could be tried, convicted and executed in a matter of months, how much less crimes like these would there be? If I had my way i would clear out Death Row in every state at the same time. It would send a message that could not be ignored. 12 years on average for someone to sit in a cell after they have been condemned to die is a travesty and a monumental waste of resources. We feed and house these pieces of human filth while there are children in abusive homes, and veterans that live on the street like discarded food wrappers. Wake up America. This type of "justice" and judicial system will be the fall of our great nation.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  40. Bonnie4T

    I guess the woman will meet the couple at the Gate–I would not to meet a murderer with the couple is happy in God's Heaven....Leave her in this Hell here on the Earth...

    February 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  41. JR

    I'm confused by this article. Are we really supposed to feel sorry for this woman? She's lonely? How lonely do you suppose the people she helped bury alive in a shallow grave were? How lonely were they as they layed moaning while they died? If justice really was served, her sentence would be converted to life in prison and she would have to spend the rest of her life in that lonely 6×7 cell.

    February 23, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  42. Chip

    Jesus also drank and hung around with prostitutes. So should I get drunk and pick up a street walker?? She deserves to die, right away. I just wish they could kill people by putting them under anesthesia and taking all of their good organs and donating them. That way they can help save a few lives after taking a few lives. We Need The Death Penalty and we need to use it more often.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  43. Jenn

    I think it's naive to believe that people reflect and feel sorry for their victims while in jail. And if they do, they deserve to be haunted by the thought and live with themselves for what they have done. Cole & co. are sick and disgusting creatures who do not deserve the life that they live. As much as I do not believe in paying for their pretty decent lives, they deserve to live down what they did. They should be completely consumed by their actions to the point where they themselves want to die.

    It's almost a shame that Guantanamo bay is going to be shut down. Maybe they should've sent the sick bastards like Cole and her friends to Guantanamo Bay where human rights are not an issue and instead of getting the royal treatment, they could've been treated like the scum and criminals they really are.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  44. Mari, Salt Lake City

    I am also, a Christian (Catholic) and I want to remind my fellow Christians that JESUS was clear that He had abolished the Old Law "of an eye for an eye"!

    IF you believe in a loving and just God, leave JUSTICE up to Him! Allow this woman to live out her days in prison, for there are consequences for her actions. The death penalty has never deterred anyone set on killing another.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  45. Steve Schweitzer

    Good Bye and Good Luck- No feeling sorry for her here. Just like Barretta said "If you can't do the time,do the Crime"
    Hopefuuly she will have a few years to think about her upcoming death , not not like those poor people she buried alive. If only they could execute her that way, that would be closer to justice.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  46. Ultimos

    I believe the crime she committed was horrible, however perhaps life in prison with no chance of ever getting out is more sufficient. Not that she doesn't deserve to die, I'm just against capitol punishment.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  47. spirit

    Do to others what others do to you. The courts should do to them what they did to the people. Bury them alive to and whatever else they did. It would stop alot of crime if that is what we did. Hell their are countries with very low crime rates because of their consequences. The crime has gotten so bad that their needs to be something done. All the innocent lives being taken. It is so sad. The courts system is more for the felon and not at all for the victims. Look all the time it takes just to get them tried. Due to all the rediculous continuances. You got the proof and dna save tax payers money and convict.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  48. Mike

    She committed a horrible crime, there is no doubting that. Justice was served and she must answer to "The Laws of the Land" just like every other citizen. I don 't agree, however, with others' points of view that she should suffer as her victims suffered. Ghandi once said " An eye for and eye will make the world go blind." Thats something to consider carefully. It's a razor edged sword: There must be Laws and Justice or chaos would reign, however, we must not and can not bring ourselves down to the same level as the individuals that commit such terrible crimes. When we do that as a civilization, we are no longer civilized and we become just as barbaric as the crime committed.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  49. Cher

    I totally believe in an eye for an eye. She should be put down like the dog she is as soon as possible and not piss away my tax dollars any more. Take Iran now, the lady who had acid thrown in her eyes and was burned and blinded and scarred for life and now her wish is for her attacker suffer the same fate. Guess what, THATS WHAT HE IS GETTTING and he fully deserves it!!! It was him, no shades of grey, no mental issues NO FRIGGIN LOOPHOLES! Whose sas women's rights have not changed now?

    February 23, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  50. Jonathan

    We wait that long to execute convicts because new evidence comes out, new technology makes reexamining old evidence possible, etc.

    If we just took them out back and killed them the next day after their sentence, we'd be like China with death vans driving all over the country harvesting organs.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
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