Monday, January 9, 2017

Tammy Eveans Corbett, Ultra-Creepy Serial Killer – Illinois, 1989


Tammy Eveans was always seen by her husband as a devoted mother. Yet he knew she was a  habitual liar and that she had faked a suicide attempt on her honeymoon and after arrest fabricated rape stories, or more properly, a single rape story that she offered in three radically different versions.

“At different times during their marriage, defendant gave three different versions of being raped when she was younger. First, she claimed before they were married, she had been raped by her boyfriend. Later she claimed she had been grabbed as she was getting into her car, dragged to an apartment, and raped by a man who looked vaguely familiar. Later her story was the same as the second version, except this time the rapist was a black man.” [1-4-96; Illinois v. T. Eveans]

It was the supposed emotional trauma from supposed rape that became Tammy’s exculpatory claim she used to explain what she asserted was the accidental death of her 3-year-old son in 1989. Tammy delivered the story to her sister, Mary Corbett (26), telling her “she was napping with her son when she had a nightmare about being raped, thought she was defending herself against the rapist and awoke to find her son dead beside her.” [2-4-93, SLPD]

It was of the third of her children to die in her care, the previous deaths, in 1987 and 1988, were not treated as homicide cases. The first, that of Robert, 56-days-old, was seen as an accident, the baby having died from a skull fracture due to “a fall.” The second, that of Amy, 16-days-old, was attributed to the non-explanation pseudo-diagnosis that was current at the time, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), meaning in reality, simply this: “nobody has any idea how the baby died.”

It was only after the 1989 death by smothering of 3-year-old Richard Eavens, Jr. and subsequent murder conviction that she admitted to the two earlier killings. Testimony made it clear that her motive was to exact revenge on her husband, a painter, who worked long hours to support his young family. Tammy resented not getting more attention.

Tammy, in explaining the death of her daughter, employed another “dream story” to explain odd circumstances surrounding baby Amy’s death, claiming he had gotten up unusually early because “she was having a dream in which Amy’s name had replaced Robert’s on his tombstone.” [2-2-93, SLPD]

It was during a visit to his wife in the county jail that the father learned that his wife had murdered all three of his children. “Richard Eveans quoted his wife as saying that after she killed Amy, she laughed real loud, like a witch, and she couldn’t understand why.” [2-2-93, SLPD]

Tammy, according to testimony, told Richard “that she knew what she was doing when she killed each child and that she could have stopped herself.” She added the chilling detail that “she had looked into their son’s eyes while she held her hand over his mouth . . . telling him “His eyes were saying, ‘Help me mommy.’” [9-22-90, SLPD]

In 1993 trial testimony one witness, Gina Eveans, disclosed that at the hospital in 1987 about a week before baby Robert died, “she heard Corbett say as she stood over his crib, “Don’t worry, baby, I got even.” [2-3-93, SLPD]

At the same trial for the two newly discovered murders the daughter of Richard Eavans told of a harrowing story of what she had witnessed and heard. The girl, 12 at the time of the trial, said she was afraid to tell anyone because she feared Tammy “would get her.”

The girl told of how when she was “was staying with her father and Corbett on two separate occasions she saw Corbett hold her hand over their mouths of Robert and Amy. Authorities have requested that the girl remain unidentified. Both babies had reacted by kicking and struggling. . . . When Corbett put her had over Robert’s mouth, she said. “This is for you Ricky [Richard Eveans Sr.].” The girl told her father that moments before Tammy smothered the 3-year-old that she said something like “You’re going to die,” or “I hope you die.” [9-22-90, SLPD]

In 1990 Tammy Corbett, in a plea agreement, was sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole for the murder of Richard, Jr., a sentence Richard Eveans found unreasonable in its mildness. “She killed all three my kids,” he explained. Justice was served when in 1993, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders of Robert and Amy. The verdict was guilty but mentally ill, and it was this mitigating factor that saved her from the death sentence the prosecutor had sought.

[by Robert St. Estephe, Jan. 9, 2017]

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Sources:
[Charles Bosworth, Jr., “Sentence Upsets Father; Long Term Sought In Children’s Deaths,: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Sep. 22, 1990, p. 1]
[Charles Bosworth, Jr., “Mother Slew for Attention, Prosecutor Says,” St. Louis Post Dispatch (Mo.), Feb. 2, 1993, p. 4A]
[Charles Bosworth, Jr., “Corbett’s Stepdaughter Testifies Of Foreshadowing Of 2 Deaths,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Feb. 3, 1993, p;. 8A]
[01/04/96; People State Illinois V. Tammy L. Eveans, Appellate Court Of Illinois, Fourth District, January 4, 1996; The People Of  The State Of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, V. Tammy L. Eveans, A/K/A Tammy L. Corbett, Defendant-Appellant.]

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FULL TEXT: A 12-year old girl fought back tears Tuesday as she described watching Tammy Corbett hold her hand over the mouths of her two mouths of her two infants in frightening incidents well before the mysterious deaths of of both babies.

The girl, Corbett’s stepdaughter, also told Circuit Judge Joseph P. Koval of Macoupin County that she heard Corbrett say something like “Die, Ricky” or “You’re going to die” in “a mean voice” on the day that she has admitted smothering her other child, Richard Eveans Jr., on his third birthday in July 1989.

Corbett, 27, of Brighton, is being tried before Koval without a jury on two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of her 56-day-old son, Robert Eveans, in September 1987, and her 16-day-old daughter, Amy, in September 1988.

She already is serving 20 years after pleading guilty but mentally ill for smothering Richard Eveans Jr. Corbett agreed that she held her hand over the boy’s mouth until he died.

State’s Attorney Vince Moreth said Monday that Corbett was so addicted to attention that she killed her children to get sympathy.

Moreth and Corbett also was trying to get back at her then-husband, Richard Eveans Sr., for spending too much time on his painting business.

Moreth was expected to rest his case this morning: he said he would seek the death penalty if Corbett is convicted.

Richard Eveans Sr., testified Monday that Corbett admitted to him that she killed all three of her children.

One of Corbett’s attorneys, Michael Burton of St. Louis, said the defense would show that Corbett’s mental condition prevented her from forming the intent to commit murder.

Burton and defense attorney Arthur S. Margulis of Clayton said they had yet to decide whether Corbett would testify.

Richard Eveans’ daughter from a previous marriage testified Tuesday that she was staying with her father and Corbett on two separate occasions she saw Corbett hold her hand over their mouths of Robert and Amy. Authorities have requested that the girl remain unidentified.

Both babies had reacted by kicking and struggling, the girl testified as she wiped away her tears.

When Corbett put her had over Robert’s mouth, she said. “This is for you Ricky [Richard Eveans Sr.],” the girl testified.

The girl did not explain the remark.

The girl testified that she asked Corbett what she was doing to Robert, and she said she was trying to get him to be quiet.

The girl she said she was afraid to tell anyone what happened until Corbett had been arrested. The girl said she hid after she saw what Corbett did to Amy “because I was afraid she was going to get me.”

Under cross-examination by Burton, the girl said she still loved Corbett and had sent letters and cards to her in jail.

Gina Eveans, who is married to Richard Eveans’ brother, testified Tuesday that Corbett had several times that she would get even with Richard Eveans for spending too much time away from home.

Gina Eveans said that she went to the hospital when Robert was admitted, about a week before he died, and heard Corbett say as she stood over his crib, “Don’t worry, baby, I got even.”

[Charles Bosworth, Jr., “Corbett’s Stepdaughter Testifies Of Foreshadowing Of 2 Deaths,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Feb. 3, 1993, p;. 8A]

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CHRONOLOGY
Oct. 2, 1965 – Tammy Corbett born. Grew up in South St. Louis.
1986 – Married Richard Eavens; having met in 1985 through friends.
Jul. 19, 1986 – Richard Eveans Jr., born.
July 31, 1987 –  Robert Eveans born.
Sep. (date?), 1987 – Robert Eveans stops breathing and is sent to hospital.
Sep. 25, 1987 – Robert Eveans (7 weeks old; 56 days), murdered; dies due to a skull fracture resulting in meningitis.
Aug. 16, 1988 – Amy Cecille Eveans, born.
Sep. 1, 1988 – Amy Cecile Eveans (16 days old), was murdered. It was ruled that her death was caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Jul. 19, 1989 Richard Eveans Jr. 3-year-old son, smothered on his birthday, pronounced dead at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton.
Aug. 10, 1989 – Corbett is arrested for the murder of her son Richard Eveans Jr.
Date? 1989/90 – In Jersey County Jail in Jerseyville, Tammy admits to the two previous killings.
Nov. 1989 – “Lynn Chism, an acquaintance of defendant, had a phone conversation with defendant in November 1989, while defendant was being held in jail. Chism told defendant she had "no doubt" defendant had killed Robert and Amy. Defendant started crying and said, "It was my hands. It wasn't me, it was my hands." However, when Chism yelled at defendant, "You killed Robbie," defendant answered, "No, Ricky." Defendant then said she "had nothing to do with killing Amy."” [01/04/96; People State Illinois V. Tammy L. Eveans]
Sep. 24, 1990 – Found guilty; 20-year sentence at the Dwight Correctional Center for murder of Richard Jr. (3).
Sep. 1990 – divorce; Tammy resumes using maiden name, Corbett.
April 1990 – “Richard visited defendant in the county jail. She admitted placing her hand over Robert's mouth and suffocating him, and placing her hand over Amy's mouth and suffocating her. Defendant said she laughed when she did this and could not understand why Richard had not awakened when she was killing Amy.” [01/04/96; People State Illinois V. Tammy L. Eveans]
Summer 1990 – Charles Enneian met defendant while a fellow inmate at the Jersey County jail. In a telephone conversation with her in the summer of 1990, she told him "when Amy and Robbie died, they both kicked their legs real hard like a little baby would kick their legs trying to swim in the water." Defendant also recounted a rape when she was younger by a white man who dragged her from her car to an apartment. [01/04/96; People State Illinois V. Tammy L. Eveans]
Apr.1991 – While in prison Corbett is charged with the murders of her other two children
Feb. 2, 1993 – stepdaughter’s (12; age 9? At time of events) harrowing testimony.
Feb. 5, 1993 – TC was found guilty but mentally ill for murders of Robert and Amy.
Feb. 10, 1993 – TC sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Apr. 19, 1995 – appeal hearing; question of whether admission of husband’s testimony was proper.
Jan. 4, 1996 – Primary murder convictions upheld on appeal.
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For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.

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