In 1983 in
Smyth County, VA, Jessie Havens, 52, was raped and murdered by Lem
Tuggle after he met her at a dance at an American Legion Hall. He had
been paroled just four months earlier for the 1971 strangulation of 17-year-old
also one of six death row inmates who grabbed 13 hostages and bluffed
their way out of the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Boydton, Va.,
with a fake bomb May 31, 1984.
Recaptured Murderer Executed in
The New York Times
December 16, 1996
A murderer who was one of
six death-row inmates to escape from a
Virginia prison in 1984 was executed by
injection on Thursday night.
The prisoner, Lem Tuggle,
44, was put to death for the 1983 murder of
Jessie Geneva Havens, 52. The authorities
say he raped and shot her after they met at
a dance. The killing took place four months
after Mr. Tuggle was paroled in another
case. He served half of a 20-year term for
murdering a 17-year-old girl, Shirley
Brickey, in 1971.
In May 1984, Mr. Tuggle
was one of six inmates who used homemade
knives and stolen guard uniforms to take 13
prison employees hostage and bluff their way
out of the Mecklenburg Correctional Center.
Mr. Tuggle was captured with another inmate
in Vermont, and all the escapees were caught
within three weeks. The other five have
since been executed.
Lem Davis Tuggle
In 1984, Lem Davis Tuggle was
convicted of capital murder committed during or subsequent to the
rape of Jessie Geneva Havens. As recounted by the Virginia Supreme
Court on direct appeal, the facts surrounding Havens' murder are:
In the early morning of June 2,
1983, State Trooper R. M. Freeman was dispatched to an area on
Interstate Highway 81 in Pulaski County to look for a black pickup
truck equipped with a camper. Shortly after his arrival, Freeman
stopped a truck meeting that description and recognized Tuggle as
the driver. When the trooper asked the defendant if he had been near
the Riverside Exxon Station, Tuggle responded: "Yes, I robbed it,
the money's in my pocket, the gun's in the truck.
"Thereupon, Freeman took
possession of a .25 caliber automatic weapon. (Ballistics tests
established that this gun fired the bullet which killed Havens.)
While Freeman was taking Tuggle to the Pulaski County Sheriff's
Office, Tuggle volunteered that he was connected with a missing
person's report relating to Jessie Havens and said that he would
have a "long talk" with Smyth County authorities later.
Later that morning, a Smyth County
Sheriff's Office investigator interviewed Tuggle concerning Havens'
disappearance. The officer advised Tuggle of his Miranda rights.
Tuggle waived these rights and
told the officer that he could find Jessie Havens over a bank at a
certain spot on Hubble Hill Road near Seven Mile Ford. When the
officer asked the defendant what had happened to Havens, Tuggle
responded: "I don't know but she's there."
The defendant then told the
officer that he did not want to discuss the matter further until he
had spoken to an attorney. He specifically stated: "From past
experience, I would like to talk to an attorney. I'll probably tell
you the full story later."
Approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 2,
the investigator went to the place where Tuggle said Havens would be
found. He found Havens' body at the site.
Havens was clad in jeans "down
around her knees," a blue and white striped blouse "pulled up to
about the armpits," and "black silk panties . . .rolled down some
what." A portion of the victim's pantyhose was "sticking out of the
top" of her jeans, and one of her legs was out of the pantyhose.
An autopsy revealed that the
victim's body had an abrasionand a bruise on the left frontal area
of the forehead, a small abrasion on the right frontal area of the
forehead, an abrasion on the neck, a bite mark on the lower, inner
quadrant of the right breast, a number of small bruises on the upper,
inner aspect of the right arm, and a bruise on the right thumband
right wrist. Havens also had sustained a large bruise on the upper,
inner thigh, bruises on the vaginal vault at the posterior aspect
and near the bottom, and a gunshot wound in the chest.
According to the medical examiner,
"the bruises of the vagina indicate penetration of the vaginal vault
by something, a penis, a finger, an object, something." The medical
examiner testified that both the bite mark on the breast andthe
bruising around the vagina occurred while Havens was alive.
He also testified that no semen or
spermatozoa was found in Havens' vagina, but that semen was found in
the rectum, indicating "penetration and ejaculation into the rectum."
A forensic odontologist testified
that he examined the bitemark on the victim's right breast. He
compared the markwith models of Tuggle's teeth and concluded "with
all medical certainty these marks on the body of Ms. Havens were
made by the teeth of Mr. Tuggle." He further opined that Havens was
alive and moving when she was bitten.
SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE:
MO: Rape-slayer of women
DISPOSITION: Life term, 1971
(paroled 1983); executed Dec. 12, 1996.