Marybeth Tinning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marybeth Tinning
Born Marybeth Roe
(1942-09-11) September 11, 1942 (age 75)
Duanesburg, New York, United States
Criminal penalty 20 years to life[1]
Criminal status Incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York
Spouse(s) Joe Tinning (m. 1965)[2]
Children Jennifer, Joseph Jr., Barbara, Timothy, Nathan, Mary Frances, Jonathan, Michael, Tami Lynne
Parent(s) Alton Roe
Conviction(s) Second-degree murder

Marybeth Roe Tinning (born September 11, 1942) is an American prisoner serving a sentence of 20 years to life after being convicted of the murder of one of her children. Laboratory testing indicated that the death of Tinning's ninth child resulted from smothering. At that time, the deaths of her eight other children were investigated, but prosecutors only charged Tinning in one child's death. She was convicted of second-degree murder. An appeal to the New York Supreme Court argued that Tinning's confession to the crime was coerced and that there was insufficient evidence to convict her, but her appeal was denied.

Early life and marriage[edit]

Marybeth Roe was born in Duanesburg, a small town in Schenectady County, New York, United States. Her father, Alton Roe, worked as a press operator in nearby General Electric, the area's largest employer. Marybeth once claimed that when she was a child, her father abused her. During a police interview in 1986, she told one investigator that her father had beaten her and locked her in a closet. During court testimony, she denied that her father had bad intentions. "My father hit me with a flyswatter," she told the court, "because he had arthritis and his hands were not of much use. And when he locked me in my room I guess he thought I deserved it."[2]

Roe worked in a series of low-paying, unskilled jobs. She eventually became a nurse's aide at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. In 1963, she met Joe Tinning on a blind date with some friends. [3] The couple got married in 1965.[3] The Tinnings' first child, Barbara, was born in May 1967.[3] In January 1970, Joseph, the Tinnings' second child, was born.[3] In October 1971, Tinning's father died of a sudden heart attack.[4]

Children's deaths[edit]

In December 1971, Jennifer, the Tinnings' third child, was born.[3] Jennifer died, only 8 days old, from hemorrhagic meningitis and multiple brain abscesses from birth.[3] Seventeen days after Jennifer's death, on January 20, 1972, Tinning took her two-year-old son, Joseph Jr., to the Ellis Hospital emergency room in Schenectady. His death was attributed to cardiopulmonary arrest.[3] Several weeks later, Marybeth rushed Barbara to the hospital because she had gone into convulsions. The next day, Barbara died, after being in a comatose state for several hours. Barbara's death was attributed to Reye syndrome.[3] Marybeth Tinning was 29 years old at this time. On Thanksgiving Day 1973, Tinning gave birth to a son, Timothy. On December 10, Timothy was brought back to the same hospital. He was dead. Tinning told doctors she found him lifeless in his crib. Doctors attributed his death to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).[3] In March 1975, Tinning's fifth child, Nathan, was born. Later, that autumn, he died in the car while out with Tinning.[3]

In August 1978, the Tinnings adopted Michael, shortly after he was born.[3] On October 29, she gave birth to her sixth child, Mary Frances. In January 1979, Tinning rushed Mary Frances to the emergency room, directly across the street from her apartment, saying the baby had had a seizure. The staff was able to revive her, reporting "aborted SIDS."[3] A month later, Tinning returned to the hospital with Mary Frances in full cardiac arrest; she was revived, but had irreversible brain damage.[3] Two days later, Mary Frances died after being taken off life support. [3] In the fall, Jonathan, the Tinnings' eighth child, was born.[3] In March 1980, Jonathan died, after being kept on life support in Albany, New York for four weeks.[3] In March 1981, Tinning took Michael to the doctor's office because he would not wake up. Michael died. In February, he had been taken to the hospital for falling down stairs. Since Michael was adopted, the long-suspected theory that the deaths in the Tinning family had a genetic origin was discarded.

In August 1985, Tami Lynne was born. On December 20, she died from being smothered. That day, the Tinning family was visited by Betsy Mannix of Schenectady County's Department of Social Services and Bob Imfeld of the Schenectady Police Department, regarding the death of Tami Lynne.[3]

Arrest and conviction[edit]

Marybeth and Joe Tinning were separately taken to the Schenectady Police Department for questioning regarding the death of Tami Lynne. During the police interrogation, Marybeth signed a document confessing to the murders of Tami Lynne, Timothy, and Nathan. Marybeth was arrested and charged with the murder of Tami Lynne.[5] Police officials initially suspected that Tami Lynne died of SIDS, but laboratory analysis determined that her death resulted from smothering.[6] After charging Marybeth with Tami Lynne's death, officials said that they considered the deaths of the eight other Tinning children to be suspicious.[7] Investigators later said that Jennifer's death was not suspect because it occurred before the baby left the hospital.[8]

Marybeth Tinning made her $100,000 bail payment and was released from custody until her trial date.[9] After a six-week trial, the jury found Marybeth guilty of murder in the second degree, depraved indifference to human life.[10] After her trial, she received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.[11]

After her conviction, she appealed on the grounds that her confession was not voluntarily given and that her conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence. In 1988, her appeal was denied by the NY State Supreme Court's Appellate Division. [1]

Parole attempts[edit]

Tinning's first attempt for parole was in March 2007. At the parole board meeting, Tinning said, "I have to be honest, and the only thing that I can tell you is that I know that my daughter is dead. I live with it every day. I have no recollection and I can't believe that I harmed her. I can't say any more than that." Her parole was denied.[12]

In late January 2009, Tinning went before the parole board for the second time. Tinning stated "I was going through bad times," when she killed her daughter.[13] The parole board again denied her parole, stating that her remorse was "superficial at best."[13] Tinning was eligible for parole again in January 2011.[13]

In 2011 and 2013 Tinning was again denied parole.[14][15][16] At the 2011 appearance, Tinning said that she killed Tami Lynne because she thought the child would die like her other children anyway. In 2011, Tinning was supported by people from Georgetown University Law Center and people she worked with in prison, describing her as the "most loving, most generous, caring person that they have ever met."[17] When questioned about the murder during her 2013 appearance, she said, "It’s just — I can’t remember. I mean, I know I did it, but I can’t tell you why. There is no reason."[16]

Her latest opportunity for parole was in January 2015.[16] The parole board again denied Tinning release, finding that she continues to demonstrate no insight into her crime.


  1. ^ a b "People V. Tinning". 1988-12-29. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b Gado, Mark. "Marybeth — Marybeth Tinning killed her nine babies - the Crime Library — Crime Library". p. 2. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Marybeth Tinning Resume" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  4. ^ Gado, Mark. "Parade of Death — Marybeth Tinning killed her nine babies - the Crime Library — Crime Library". p. 3. Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  5. ^ Leggett, James (October 2, 1987). "Poersch probes deaths of the other children". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Early investigation of Tinning child deaths came up empty". Lodi News-Sentinel. February 7, 1986. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Mother suspected of killing 9 children". Ottawa Citizen. February 6, 1986. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Leggett, James (December 16, 1986). "Mrs. Tinning says police threatened to exhume, mutilate her children". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ Leggett, James (December 11, 1986). "Investigator recalls Tinning cooperated". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Murdering mother faces more charges". The Courier. July 19, 1987. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Leggett, James (October 2, 1987). "Tinning sentence is 20 years to life for killing baby". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Buell, Bill and Steven Cook (2007-03-30). "Tinning parole denied". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, NY. p. A1. 
  13. ^ a b c Cook, Steven (2009-03-05). "No parole for Tinning, jailed for killing baby". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, NY. p. B1. 
  14. ^ Gavin, Robert (2011-02-11). "Notorious child killer Marybeth Tinning tells parole board she ‘just lost it,’ feared daughter would die". Albany Times Union. Albany, NY. 
  15. ^ Cook, Steven (2011-02-08). "Marybeth Tinning again denied parole: Now 68, child killer next eligible in January 2013". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, NY. 
  16. ^ a b c Cook, Steven (2015-02-10). "Schenectady child killer Tinning again denied parole". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, NY. Retrieved 2015-02-10. 
  17. ^ "Rare glimpse into child killer's mind". Times Union. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Egginton, Joyce (February 1989). From Cradle to Grave: The Short Lives and Strange Deaths of Marybeth Tinning's Nine Children. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07566-5. 
  • Unnatural Death, Confessions of a Forensic Pathologist, Michael Baden MD with Judith Adler Hennessee, 1989. ISBN 0-7515-0960-4