ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. -- It was a chilling crime. It is the story of two teenage twin sisters that viciously killed their mother and told police they were the victims.
Earlier this year, Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead signed a plea agreement in their case. Their confession was exchanged for 30 years behind bars. But what came before their confessions case evidence shows was a twisted web of lies.
While their fate is sealed, their case file is not. Through an open records request 11Alive has obtained critical evidence that never made it to a courtroom: crime scene photos, interrogation tapes, surveillance video and, finally, the girls' taped confessions.
THE INITIAL STORY
Identical twins share everything: birthdays, clothing -- even DNA. However, twin sisters Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead also share a dark past. They admitted to killing their mother -- a confession that came after months of lying to cover it up.
"Twin girls had come home and found their mother deceased," said Richard Read, Rockdale County District Attorney.
At first glance, police believed their story that the two sweet 16-year-old girls had just discovered a gruesome scene.
"It was the bloodiest scene I think I've ever been to," said Lt. Chris Moon of the Conyers Police Department.
On Jan. 13, 2010, one of the twins flagged down a passing police car to come inside their home where they claim they have discovered a crime scene. Conyers police found their mother, Jarmecca Whitehead, the victim of a brutal attack, dead and submerged in a bathtub.
"As soon as you opened the door, you could smell the blood, the copper iron smell in the air," said Moon.
The girls, known as Tas and Jas, were described as visibly distraught and were taken into the care of Conyers police.
"You can come sit over here sweetheart you can come sit over here," a detective is heard telling the girls on the interrogation tapes.
The girls describe to the police and on tape what they saw.
"I heard Jas scream and all I saw blood all over the floor," said Tasmiyah.
"We were treating them as victims, witnesses who had come home and found their mother dead," said Lt. Moon.
The girls, who are clearly aware of the camera, continued to appear distraught and tearful.
"She's not going to come back," mutters Jasmiyah through tears.
Several times Jas asked for her mother.
"I want my mommy," she said.
Her sister comforted her.
"You've gotta be strong because I'm going to make sure they find the person who did it," said Tasmiyah.
The girls tell police how the scene was shocking and scary.
"I looked and there blood in front of the door like a line of blood, like someone had dragged her in there like it is on TV," said Tasmiyah.
Tasmiyah is essentially describing what the twins did themselves, only pretending it was an unknown suspect.
"There were drag marks that went from the living room into the master bedroom and into the master bathroom," said Moon.
Jas actually admitted to touching her mother's dead body.
"I went into her room and I saw blood all over the floor and I went in there and I seen her and I touched her," she said.
But just that morning police would discover, she not only touched her, she cut her, bit her, and, along with her sister, nearly severed her spinal cord that ultimately killed her.
"That night we started to have suspicions, just something didn't add up, something didn't seem right," said Read.
The more answers the girls gave, the more questions that came.
Detective: "What time did y'all leave the house this morning?
Jasmiyah: "We missed the bus so we had to walk"
Detective: You walked all the way to Rockdale?"
Tasmiyah: It's not far.
Surveillance tape also from the evidence file shows the girls only walked to a gas station and hitchhiked to school with a stranger.
Detective: Is that the clothes you wore to school today?
They arrived there two hours late - as seen here on school surveillance camera. By that point, police began to get suspicious.
Detective: Hey girls, we're going to have to get you guys some clothes and I'll tell you why: you were in the crime scene.
Police also discover the girls have had a history of domestic troubles with their mother for years as evident by this handwritten letter recovered by police. It sent from Jas to her boyfriend, She wrote, "I just hate living here being with her."
"I told her that I wish she were dead and she really did die. I told her that plenty of times and she never died," said Tasmiyah.
Presumably to hide injuries, both girls wore gloves indoors, but police quickly noticed and asked they be removed.
Detective: Let me see your hands and arms, what happened here,
Jasmiyah: I got in a fight with her here.
Jasmiyah pointed to her sister, but the fight was actually with their mother.
"They both had what could have scratch marks or bite marks on their arms," said Read.
Detectives decide it's time to separate the girls.
Detective: Tas I want you to come out here with me, I want to talk to you sister.
Tas: Why do y'all have to separate us?
Detective: Because we need to talk to you separate. I know it sounds mean, but it's really not.
The police were about to get each version of the story, and unlike the twins, they'll be far from identical.