Timothy Buss Murders Twice

Timothy Buss was a twelve year old from Illinois the first time he murdered a child, it would not be the last time

According to court documents Timothy Buss was twelve years old when he would murder Tara Sue Huffman of Bradley who was five years old in 1981. Timothy Buss would be convicted and sentenced to twenty five years in prison.

Timothy Buss would be paroled in 1993 and in 1996 he would murder Christopher Meyer of Aroma Park who was ten years old

Timothy Buss was initialed sentenced to death however his sentence would be commuted to life in prison without parole

Timothy Buss Photos

timothy buss Tara Sue Huffman

Timothy Buss FAQ

Where is Timothy Buss now

Timothy Buss is currently incarcerated at the Statesville Correctional Center

When is Timothy Buss release date

Timothy Buss is serving life without parole

Timothy Buss Appeal

Timothy Buss, convicted of the murder of two Kankakee County children, was back in court Tuesday seeking to shorten his prison time.

Buss was convicted in 1996 for the death of 10-year-old Christopher Meyer of Aroma Park and in 1981 for killing 5-year-old Tara Sue Huffman of Bradley. Buss was on parole from the first murder conviction when the second murder occurred.

Meyer’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Kankakee River State Park’s Hunting Area 7, just inside the Will County Line. He’d been stabbed 48 times.

Before leaving office in January, former Gov. George Ryan of Kankakee reduced Buss’ sentence for the Meyer murder from death by lethal injection to life imprisonment.

Ryan’s action also opened the door to Buss’ attempt to shorten his prison time and that’s just what his lawyers were attempting to achieve Tuesday in Will County Circuit Court.

This time their case will focus on the car he owned in 1995. Buss claims, among other things, that police searched the car without permission.

A 1999 bid to evade the death penalty for the Meyer murder failed when the Illinois Supreme Court rejected Buss’ claim that he should be spared execution because the state failed to adequately treat the mental illness that occasioned his killing of Tara Sue Huffman.

He also claims that additional issues related to the case have yet to be presented and that he did not voluntarily give police permission to search his home during the Meyer murder investigation.

Buss’ next court appearance will be 9:30 a.m., June 9.


Timothy Buss Now

timothy buss today


Offender Status: IN CUSTODY


Admission Date: 07/31/1996

Last Paroled Date:

Projected Discharge Date: INELIGIBLE

Timothy Buss Legal

Timothy Buss, age 13 at the time of the instant offense, was arrested on May 28, 1981, in connection with the murder of five-year-old Tara Sue Huffman. Following a hearing conducted pursuant to section 2-7(3) of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 37, par. 702-7(3)), defendant’s case was transferred from the juvenile division to the court’s adult division, and he was formally indicted by a grand jury in Kankakee County in three counts for the child’s murder. Because of pretrial publicity, the jury trial was held in Will County. Defendant was found guilty, convicted, and sentenced to a 25-year term of imprisonment.

On appeal, defendant raises five issues for our consideration: (1) whether the State’s evidence was sufficient to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) whether the defendant was denied a fair trial by the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion in limine to preclude the State’s use of his pre-arrest statement; (3) whether defendant was denied a fair trial by the prosecution’s suppression of certain witness interview notes taken by assistant state’s attorneys; (4) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion for mistrial based on prosecutorial and judicial misconduct; and (5) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.

Because the defendant’s conviction was obtained on the basis of entirely circumstantial evidence, we proceed with great caution in deciding defendant’s first issue. Several witnesses were called by the State to testify about events of May 21, 1981, in a certain neighborhood on the east side of Bradley, Illinois. Around 9:30 a.m., Tara Sue Huffman, along with a chaperone and other kindergarteners who had perfect attendance records, rode a bus to a roller skating rink. The children skated until around 11:30, when they stopped to eat. Tara had a hot dog and Pepsi. They all left the rink together and returned to the kindergarten classroom at Bradley East around noon.

At 12:15 p.m., Tara was picked up by her sister and her mother. The three of them stopped at some neighborhood garage sales and returned to the Huffman home around 1:30. Tara changed into a pair of shorts and top, told her mother she was going to play with the Smith children, and headed down the alley, barefooted, in the direction of the Allen Smith residence.

Tara’s brother, Richard Huffman, came home around 2:30 p.m. with a little turtle that he wanted to give to Tara. Mrs. Huffman phoned the Smith’s and asked for Tara. She was told that Tara hadn’t been there for some time. Not satisfied by this response, Mrs. Huffman went over to the house. Homer Smith, Allen’s son, told Mrs. Huffman that he hadn’t seen Tara for a while, but he had not seen her leave the yard.

At that point Mrs. Huffman began searching at the homes of other neighbors. No one was able to provide any information on the little girl’s whereabouts. At 5 p.m., Mrs. Huffman called the police and then continued her search of the neighborhood, aided by several neighbors and her children, Richard and Sondra.

At 7:15 p.m., Tara’s body was found by defendant Timothy Buss in the pit of a landfill located approximately 2 1/2 blocks south of the Allen Smith residence. The defendant lifted the dead body out of the pit and called Allen Coffman, another searcher in the area, to come help him carry her. Tara was nude except for her shirt, which was pulled up under her armpits. Her face was covered with blood, and a stick protruded from her anus.

Upon seeing the body Coffman felt sick, declined the defendant’s suggestion to assist in moving the body, and told the defendant to stay there to keep other youngsters from seeing Tara’s body while he went after the police.

Coffman found Lieutenant Greenstreet of the Bradley Police Department and led him to Tara’s body. The scene was secured, and the defendant and Coffman were taken to the police station for their statements regarding the discovery of Tara’s body.

The defendant, who was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers, was joined by his father, David Buss, at the police station. Around 10 p.m., juvenile officer Catherine Bergen, pursuant to routine procedures, explained to defendant and his father the Miranda warnings and had defendant initial on a preprinted form as to his understanding of each segment and sign the form. The execution of the form was witnessed by Bergen and David Buss.

The defendant thereafter described his discovery of Tara’s body and his own activities of the day leading up to that event. The defendant stated that he had not been in school on May 21, 1981, because his class had gone on a field trip and he had elected not to go because of the cost of the trip and the fact that he had planned to take a trip with his grandfather to Texas. In the morning he had gone across the street from his aunt’s home where he was staying to the garage next to Allen Smith’s house to help Jerry Beattie wash his car. When they finished washing and waxing it, the defendant went back home where his cousin fixed hamburgers for lunch. The defendant watched television for a while, and at 2:30 p.m., he went to see his friend Gary Clough at his home. At 3 p.m., the defendant returned home, and 10 minutes later his grandmother, Alice Buss, picked up the defendant and his brother and sister and drove them to her home in the trailer park. There, the defendant played softball.

Defendant further stated that at 6:30 p.m., Mrs. Buss drove him back to his aunt’s place. After depositing the baseball glove and bat in the house, the defendant went back across the street to the Allen Smith house. Smith told the defendant that Tara Huffman was missing. Homer Smith remarked that Tara liked to swim, so they got into a truck and drove down near to the creek. The defendant then proceeded on foot along the creek to a cavity in the ground. There he observed an arm sticking out from under some pieces of foam rubber. He pulled the foam rubber away and saw Tara’s face with blood coming from her nose.

Defendant said that he felt the little girl’s throat and noted that her arms were stiff and her eyes were partially opened. Then he yelled to Coffman (whom the defendant had not known at the time), “I found her.” Coffman asked if she was all right. The defendant said she was dead and then lifted the girl’s body out of the hole, set her down, and lifted her one more time to move her farther from the hole. Coffman came over and saw the body. The defendant asked Coffman if he could borrow his bike to get help. Coffman said no, he’d go himself. He left and then the defendant told a woman that he’d found the body and told her to keep the children away from the area. The defendant walked a distance and then spotted a policeman. He turned back and pointed to where the body lay, and the police took charge from there.

Officer Bergen was acquainted with Gary Clough and had been led to believe that he had gone to live in Florida with his father. After listening to the defendant’s account of his activities during May 21, 1981, Bergen first assured herself that the defendant was referring to the same individual, and then asked the defendant what he did at Gary’s house. The defendant said that they had sat around and talked.

Bergen also observed hairline scratches on the defendant’s face and a reddish-brown stain on the thigh of his pants. While the defendant’s statement was being typed up, Bergen telephoned Gary Clough’s mother and asked if Gary was at home. Mrs. Clough said no, he was in Florida. Upon further interrogation, the defendant reconfirmed that he had been with Gary and had talked with him.

The officers told the defendant that they wanted him to remove his clothing and leave it for processing. The defendant did so and eventually was allowed to leave the police station with his father around 5 a.m. of May 22.

While the defendant was still at the police station, Judith Wilkens telephoned the police to report an incident that had occurred earlier in the day and which she thought might have some significance. Mrs. Wilkens lived in the neighborhood between the Allen Smith residence and the landfill area where Tara’s body was discovered. Mrs. Wilkens stated that around 2:30 p.m. of May 21, a boy had come to her door and asked to borrow her children’s wooden wagon which was in the yard. The boy wore a white T-shirt, blue jeans, tennis shoes and a baseball cap. He was sweating heavily and had a fiber barrel which he explained was full of junk from cleaning the garage. He wanted to use the wagon to carry the barrel to the dump. Mrs. Wilkens observed that the boy avoided eye-contact with her and acted very nervous, and that he had thick lips. When he assured her he’d return the wagon, she gave him permission as requested and then returned to her kitchen. Later that day Mrs. Wilkens noted that the wagon had been returned to her front yard. That evening, Mrs. Wilkens told her husband, a former police officer, about the incident. At his suggestion she called the Bradley police.

A squad car was dispatched to the Wilkens home to pick up the wagon. Mrs. Wilkens was given a statement form to complete at home with the help of her husband. When she saw the defendant at the police station, Mrs. Wilkens asked, “Who is that boy?” She was told that he was the one who had found Tara’s body. Although Mrs. Wilkens recognized the defendant as the person who had borrowed the wagon, she did not say so either at the station or in her statement. She remarked to her husband that she recognized the defendant on their way home from the station that night. Later, when called to view a lineup, Mrs. Wilkens identified the defendant as the person who had borrowed her wagon.

At trial several neighbors testified that they had observed either the defendant or an individual matching the description of the defendant at various times on May 21, at the Smith residence, across the street standing on the porch of his aunt’s house with a small child, carrying a barrel southwards down an alley, pulling a wagon with a barrel towards the landfill and pulling an empty wagon back north away from the landfill area. Further testimony established that the defendant’s grandmother was an employee of Mortell Company and that she had been given two barrels similar to one that was found at the landfill near where Tara’s body was discovered. Witnesses who had seen the defendant with a barrel confirmed that the barrel found at the landfill resembled the one they had observed in defendant’s possession. Forensic examination of the barrel disclosed traces of blood consistent with Tara’s, and the defendant’s palm print was on the lid. It was also established that the barrel was, in fact, one which had been used by Mortell’s. The stain on defendant’s pants proved to be blood, also consistent with Tara’s type.

One of the witnesses, whose testimony placed the defendant on the premises of the Allen Smith residence shortly before Tara’s disappearance, stated that he had seen the defendant etching in the gravel with a stick of a size consistent with the branch found in the dead girl’s body. A broken-off portion of the same branch was located in the pit area where Tara was found. An autopsy revealed that the stick had been thrust into Tara’s body after she died. The autopsy also disclosed that the time of Tara’s death was somewhere between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. The cause of death was a single blow to the head accomplished with either a blunt instrument or by smashing the child’s head against a hard surface. The skull was fractured by the blow. The police investigation failed to ascertain either the scene of the murder or the instrument used to fracture Tara’s skull.

In addition to the evidence adduced at trial, the police had received several other reports by citizens seeking to assist in the investigation which did not prove relevant to the instant crime.


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