The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
ColeTiffany J352124th Circuit PDCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
8/23/2010CC05-10263Status Conference
11/15/2010CC05-10263Status Conference
2/15/2011CC05-10263Status conference held
3/19/2008FSC08-528Direct Appeal
1/14/2009FSC08-528Initial brief
10/6/2009FSC08-528Oral Arguments held
3/11/2010FSC08-528Conviction and sentence affirmed
6/1/2010FSC08-528Rehearing denied
6/17/2010FSC08-528Mandate issued
8/3/2010USSC10-5868Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
10/4/2010USSC10-5868Petition denied

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
HendersonWayne F.St. Augustine, FL222 San Marco Ave., Ste. B32084-2723904/823-1232Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date
Henderson16-2005-CF-010263-DXWeatherbyDuval 06/28/2010 

Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information; however, is subject to changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied upon for statistical or legal purposes. 


COLE, Tiffany (W/F)

DC# J35212

DOB: 12/03/1981


Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County Case # 05-10263

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Michael R. Weatherby

Attorney, Trial: Quentin Till – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: W.C. McLain – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: TBA


Date of Offense: 07/08/05

Date of Sentence: 03/06/08


Circumstances of Offense:


Tiffany Cole was convicted and sentenced to death for themurders of James and Carol Sumner on 03/06/08.


On the night of 07/08/05, Cole, along with codefendantsMichael Jackson, Bruce Nixon, Jr., and Alan Wade, robbed, kidnapped, andmurdered the victims. The Sumners were friends withand previous neighbors of Cole’s father before they moved from the Charleston,South Carolina, area to Jacksonville, Florida. The plan to rob and murder thevictims evolved from knowledge Cole already had about the victims andinformation she obtained from the victims in the weeks prior to the crimes. InJune 2005, Cole and her boyfriend, Michael Jackson, went to Jacksonville tovisit Jackson’s friend, Alan Wade. While in Jacksonville, Cole contacted thevictims, and Cole and Jackson stayed one night at the victims’ home. During thevisit, Mrs. Sumner confided to Cole that she and Mr. Sumner had recently soldtheir home near Charleston and had profited $99,000.


Following the initial trip to Jacksonville and additionaltrips between Charleston and Jacksonville, Cole, Jackson, Wade, and Wade’sfriend, Bruce Nixon, developed a plan to rob the victims. Nixon testified thatthe foursome planned the robbery together and Cole was the one who knew thevictims and who “set everything up.” The foursome ultimately decided they wouldkill the victims. Two days before the murders, Cole, Jackson, and Wade pickedNixon up in a Mazda RX-8 that Cole rented from an agency in South Carolina. Thegroup selected a remote location in Georgia, just across the Florida Stateline, to dig a large hole. While Cole held a flashlight, Jackson, Wade, andNixon dug the hole, which was approximately four feet deep and six feet square.The group left the shovels at the hole when they completed the excavation.


On July 8, 2005, Cole and her codefendants purchased ducttape and plastic wrap. Later that night, Cole drove the foursome to thevictims’ home. Initially, Cole and Jackson remained outside in the rentedMazda. Wade and Nixon knocked on the door and, when Mrs. Sumner responded, Wadeasked to use her telephone. After Mrs. Sumner allowed Wade and Nixon into herhome, Wade ripped the telephone cord from the wall. Nixon held the victims atgunpoint with a toy gun, took the victims to a bedroom, and bound them withduct tape. After Wade and Nixon contacted Jackson through Nextel two-way radiophones—which the group used to communicate throughout the course of thecrimes—Jackson entered the victims’ home. Jackson and Wade then searched thevictims’ home for bank account records. Cole drove down the street and waitedin the Mazda. Eventually, the victims were taken to their garage and forcedinto the trunk of their Lincoln Town Car. Cole drove back to the victims’ homein the Mazda after Jackson called her. Jackson placed a trash bag containingsome of the victims’ belongings in the Mazda’s trunk and got into the Mazda. Wadeand Nixon then drove the victims’ Lincoln, with Cole and Jackson following inthe Mazda, to the remote Georgia location where they had previously dug thelarge hole. Upon arrival, Cole remained with the Mazda at the edge of the road,while her codefendants drove the Lincoln into the woods to the hole. At somepoint, Nixon joined Cole at the road. The evidence shows that only Jackson andWade were present at the hole when the victims were put into the hole andburied alive. When Jackson returned from the woods to the Mazda, Jackson hadthe personal identification number (PIN) for the victims’ automated tellermachine (ATM) card. The foursome drove both cars from the grave site toSanderson, Florida, where they wiped down the Lincoln and abandoned it. The foursomethen left in the Mazda, with Cole driving.


Upon being arrested, Nixon revealed to law enforcementofficers the location where the victims were buried, and on July 16, 2005, thevictims’ bodies were discovered. Dr. Anthony J. Clark, medical examiner for theGeorgia Bureau of Investigation, performed autopsies on the bodies andtestified that both of the victims died as a result of mechanical obstructionof the airways by dirt. Essentially, the victims were buried alive andasphyxiated from the dirt particles smothering their airway passages.


Codefendant Information:


Michael Jackson and Alan Wade were both convicted of twocounts of first-degree murder and each received two death sentences.


Bruce Nixon, Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degreemurder. After testifying against Cole, Jackson, and Wade, Nixon received twoconcurrent sentences of 45 years’ imprisonment.


Trial Summary:


08/18/05          Indictedas follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

Count II:         First-Degree Murder

Count III:        Robbery

Count IV:        Robbery

Count V:         Kidnapping

Count VI:        Kidnapping

10/19/07          Juryreturned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

03/06/08          Juryrecommended death by a vote of 9-3

03/06/08          Sentencedas follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder – Death

Count II:         First-Degree Murder – Death

Count III:        Robbery – 15 years

Count IV:        Robbery – 15 years

Count V:         Kidnapping – Life

Count VI:        Kidnapping – Life


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 08-528


03/19/08          Appealfiled

03/11/10          TheFSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death

06/01/10          Rehearingdenied

06/17/10          Mandateissued


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 10-5868


08/03/10          Petitionfiled

10/04/10          Petitiondenied



Case Information:


Cole filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on03/19/08. In that appeal, Cole argued that the trial court erred in (1)admonishing defense counsel for a cross-examination question to the State‘switness, codefendant Nixon, concerning the parameters of Nixon‘s possiblesentence under his plea agreement; (2) admitting photographs showing Cole andcodefendants Jackson and Wade partying in Myrtle Beach before the murders; (3)instructing the jury on and in finding the avoid-arrest aggravating factor; (4)instructing the jury on and in finding the HAC aggravating factor; and (5)imposing death sentences that are disparate compared to codefendant Nixon‘ssentence of 45 years. Cole also contends that Florida‘s death penalty scheme isunconstitutional under Ring v. Arizona,536 U.S. 584 (2002). The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors thatwarranted reversing the conviction or sentence. On 03/11/10, The FloridaSupreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence.


On 08/03/10, Cole filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari inthe United States Supreme court. That petition was denied on 10/04/10.




Report Date:   03/16/10          KKR

Approved:       03/18/10          RM

Updated          10/13/10          JJK