Jarmecca Yvonne “Nikki” Whitehead was a 34-year-old mother of 16-year-old identical twins named Jasmiyah Kaneesha Whitehead and Tasmiyah Janeesha Whitehead.
Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah were both honor roll students and Girl Scouts. The girls were initially raised by their great-grandmother, Della Frazier. Frazier said that Whitehead was a sporadic and random presence in her children’s lives.
In 2007, when the twins were 13, Whitehead requested custody of them. Whitehead and the twins clashed.
Frazier said that the twins saw their mother’s attempts to control them as hypocritical. The conflicts escalated to physical fights and resulted in counseling and juvenile court appearances. Frazier was given custody again, only to have Whitehead regain custody on January 5, 2010. The girls protested the decision, but the court ordered them and their mother to live together for a two-week trial period.
The teenage twins were in and out of Juvenile Court for years. In January 2010 when Nikki regained custody of her daughters, the girls protested. The Court ordered a two-week trial. One week into the two-week trial, the girls told police they found their mother stabbed to death in her home.
On the afternoon of January 13, 2010, she was found dead in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s Conyers, Georgia, home in the Bridle Ridge Walk subdivision. She had been beaten with a vase and stabbed repeatedly. The twins said that they discovered their mother dead.
The medical examiner called the killing a crime of passion and not likely to have been performed by a stranger. Whitehead’s boyfriend was cleared after DNA testing.
The twins originally told police they came home from school and found their home covered in blood.
“I heard Jas scream and then I saw blood all over the floor,” Tasmiyah Whitehead said.
Investigators said there was evidence that the girls had tried to clean up the mess before realizing it was too much. Detectives smelled bleach in the carpet, saw bloody clothes in the wash, and found clothes the twins had thrown away.
After much questioning, the twins began to show their nerves – perhaps their guilty. Especially Jasmiyah, who is seen in the tapes rocking back and forth.
Jasmiyah: Do you think we did it?
Detective: No I don’t think y’all did anything.
Jasmiyah: It just seems like the way you questioning us that y’all think we did it.
DENIAL AFTER DENIAL
After being separated, the twins tried to stick to their story, but being apart seemed to wear them down.
The firmer police got, the more lies the girls told. With fresh cuts and bites on both their hands and arms, they first told police they got in a fight with each other. Then they exchanged that lie for another.
“The twins were claiming the bite marks they had were self-inflicted — that it’s a nervous reaction they would have,” said Lt. Chris Moon of the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.
Jas tried to act out that lie for the cameras as she bit her own hands. Meanwhile, her sister Tas, also aware of the camera, performed another act.
“I can’t eat, mom is dead. Stupid scratch, they are going to blame this whole thing on me because of a stupid scratch,” Tas said.
She prayed aloud, hoping to catch her mother’s killer.
“Please God – I really want them to catch this person,” Tasiyah said.
The girls went home with their great grandmother that night. They went to school, had a social life and perhaps started to believe they had gotten away with it. But police were watching them the entire time and building a case.
Nearly four months later, their time was up. They were now under arrest for their mother’s murder.
Both initially pleaded not guilty.
In January 2014, Tasmiyah pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. On February 7, 2014, one month after her twin, Jasmiyah also pleaded guilty and is serving the same sentence.
The twins are incarcerated at separate prisons within the Georgia Department of Corrections. Tasmiyah is serving her sentence in Pulaski State Prison and Jasmiyah is serving her sentence in Arrendale State Prison.
They were eligible for parole in 2017 but was denied.