photo: Michigan Department of Corrections/2011

Daughter's Life Sentence Upheld In Stabbing Attack On Parents

November 17, 2018 - 1:14 pm

PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the life sentence of a young woman from the state's Thumb region who plotted to have her father killed in 2010.

Tia Skinner was a 17-year-old honors student in St. Clair County at the time of the attack. Her case reached the state Supreme Court last year when justices weighed whether juries should determine whether teens get no-parole sentences. The court said the power rests with trial judges.

The appeals court took another look at Skinner's life without parole sentence and affirmed it Tuesday.

Skinner, who was adopted as a baby, was just a month shy of her 18th birthday in late 2010 when two young men attacked her parents in their bed in Yale, 85 miles northeast of Detroit. Paul Skinner was stabbed to death and his wife, Mara, survived 26 stab wounds. Both were in bed when the attack happened. 

Prosecutors say evidence showed that Tia Skinner orchestrated the attack because she was upset at her parents for forbidding her from seeing her boyfriend, a 19-year-old man who was also convicted in the killing. She left a window open and a ladder outside the house. She also drew a map of the neighborhood, used text messages to communicate with the killers and chose knives.

Years after the attack, when Tia Skinner was 20, she said she was sorry for what happened and acknowledged she could have stopped the attack.

"I am the coward that everyone says I am," she told the judge in court. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.