Tierra Capri Gobble Murders Infant

Tierra Capri Gobble is a woman from Alabama who was sentenced to death for the murder of her four month old infant.

Tierra Capri Gobble had four children who were all removed from her care by social services and put into care with other family members who were told not to give her access to the children.

For whatever the reason the family would give Tierra Capri Gobble access to her four month old infant and soon after this killer would murder the infant.

The four month old infant, Phoenix, would be rushed to the hospital and was unresponsive and soon the infant would be pronounced deceased. The autopsy would show that Phoenix had been beaten severely and had suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and assortment of other injuries.

Tierra Capri Gobble would be arrested and later convicted of murder in which she would be sentenced to death.

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Tierra Capri Gobble

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Where Is Tierra Capri Gobble Now

Tierra Capri Gobble is currently incarcerated at the TUTWILER DEATH ROW

Tierra Capri Gobble Court Case

Tierra Capri Gobble, was convicted of murdering her four-month-old son Phoenix Parrish, an offense defined as capital by § 13A-5-40 (a)(15), Ala.Code 1975, because Phoenix was under the age of 14. The jury recommended, by a vote of 10 to 2, that Gobble be sentenced to death. The circuit court followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Tierra Capri Gobble to death.

The State’s evidence established the following. On December 15, 2004, Phoenix was rushed to the emergency room of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan. He was not breathing and had no pulse. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead shortly after he was brought to the hospital. The autopsy showed that Phoenix died as a result of blunt-force trauma to his head-Phoenix’s skull had been fractured. Phoenix had numerous other injuries, including fractured ribs, a fracture to his right arm, fractures to both wrists, multiple bruises on his face, head, neck, and chest and a tear in the inside his mouth that was consistent with a bottle having been shoved into his mouth.

Tierra Capri Gobble gave birth to Phoenix on August 8, 2004, in Plant City, Florida. The child was taken from her custody by the Florida Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) within 24 hours after his birth because of DCF’s involvement with Gobble’s first child, Jewell, who was 18 months old at the time of Phoenix’s death. Jewell had been removed from Tierra Capri Gobble’s custody in December 2003 by the Florida Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) and placed with her paternal uncle-Edgar Parrish. At the time of Phoenix’s death Tierra Capri Gobble was under a court order to have no contact with her children.2 However, Tierra Capri Gobble and her boyfriend, Samuel David Hunter, moved in with Phoenix, Parrish, and Walter Jordan in October 2004. In October 2004, Gobble signed an affidavit stating her intent to terminate her parental rights. On December 2, 2004, proceedings were initiated to terminate Tierra Capri Gobble’s parental rights.

In the early morning hours of December 15, 2004, Tierra Capri Gobble was having trouble getting Phoenix to go to sleep because he was “fussin.” At around 1:00 a.m. Tierra Capri Gobble went to feed him. After he finished his bottle, she put him back in his crib. At around 9:00 a.m. Gobble checked on Phoenix and found him playing. Tierra Capri Gobble went back to sleep and awoke at approximately 11:00 a.m. When she went to check on Phoenix she discovered that he was not breathing. Tierra Capri Gobble called Jordan, who was also in the trailer that morning. Jordan went to get Parrish, who was nearby. Parrish returned to the trailer and telephoned emergency 911. When paramedics arrived, Phoenix was unresponsive, and they rushed him to a local hospital.

Dr. Jonas R. Salne, the emergency room doctor who treated Phoenix at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, testified that “[Phoenix] had bruises, contusions, on his face, scalp, and chest. They were everywhere.” (R. 436.) The x-rays showed that Phoenix had a skull fracture, fractures to both wrists, and a fracture to his right upper arm. Dr. Salne testified that it takes “quite a bit of trauma and quite a bit of force” to fracture a skull. (R. 441.) The autopsy report, admitted by agreement of the parties, showed that Phoenix also had fractures to several of his ribs. Dr. Salne testified that Phoenix would have been in tremendous pain from any of the numerous injuries.

Officer Tracy McCord of the Houston County Sheriff’s Department testified that Gobble was taken into custody several hours after Phoenix was taken to the hospital and was questioned by police. Gobble told McCord that she Phoenix’s primary caretaker even though Parrish was his guardian, that she would occasionally get frustrated with him when he would not go to sleep, that she could have broken his ribs from holding him too tightly, and that when she was holding Phoenix she leaned down in the crib to get his blanket quickly and Phoenix’s head might have struck the side of the crib at that time.

Tori Jordan testified that she had known Gobble for about two or two and one half years and that she had periodically babysat for Jewell over a period of about five months. She said that Gobble had told her that “if she couldn’t have [her children], no one could.” (R. 256.)

Gobble testified in her own defense and portrayed Hunter as abusive and domineering. She also testified that she was the primary caretaker for the children, that she was under a court order to not be around her children, and that several days before his death she noticed that Phoenix had bruises on his body, but, she said, she did not do anything because she was scared. Gobble further testified that she was the only person to have contact with Phoenix for the 10 hours immediately preceding his death. She did not telephone 911 when she realized he was not breathing, she said, because she did not want to get into trouble. During her cross-examination, the State introduced a letter written by Gobble in which she wrote that she was responsible for Phoenix’s death. In the letter Gobble writes: “It’s my fault that my son died but I didn’t mean for it [to] happen.” (C.1979.)

The jury convicted Tierra Capri Gobble of capital murder. A presentence report was prepared and a separate sentencing hearing was held. The jury recommended, by a vote of 10 to 2, that Tierra Capri Gobble be sentenced to death. The circuit court followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Gobble to death. This appeal, which is automatic in a case involving the death penalty, followed. See § 13A-5-53(a), Ala.Code 1975.
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