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August 13, 2005

White Woman, Black Man

It'll be interesting to see how the story of a real life "Bonnie and Clyde" plays out. Here we have a black man, who was imprisoned, and a white woman, who was free to set up the means necessary for the planned escape of the man, both accused of murder in having executed that plan. It seems that as corrections officers were leading the man, George Hyatte, out of a court house, George suddenly yelled, "Shoot him!" Bullets rang out, killing one of the corrections officers, a Mr. Wayne "Cotton" Morgan. The other corrections officer managed to return fire, injuring the woman who was firing the shots, the prisoner's wife, Jennifer Hyatte. The authorities released these photos of the perpetrators:


The sheriff of Roane County, Tennessee said, "I would recommend death" as the penalty that they should face. I most certainly agree. When I was a child in school, I remember a teacher explaining to the class that the death penalty in my state applied whenever a murder is premeditated and/or whenever a murder takes place during the commission of another crime (in the latter case, suppose an armed robbery is taking place and someone is killed; arguably, they never intended to kill anyone, so there was no plan for a murder, thus this situation requires being addressed separately). In the case of the Hyattes, it certainly appears that both conditions took place, as the shooting was an essential element in George's planned escape.

I hope that Tennessee has a similar application for the death penalty as my state.

But there's something even more sinister about this crime. Not only did they plan a murder, and not only did the murder take place during the execution of another crime, but additionally the crime was not only against the fellow who was killed, but it was also against the state. Even if no one had been killed, we had our system of justice violently attacked and subverted. An attack against our government from the inside is no better than an attack from the outside - by malicious governments or terrorists. I would consider it to be a slap in the face to all Americans if these people receive anything less than the death penalty.

After they were caught, the authorities released these photos of the pair:


So I just click on a news story entitled, Mother says con's wife gullible about men. Oh lord...let the scapegoating begin. I find this lovely statement, made by Jennifer's mother, within its text:

"We realize that what she has allegedly done is terrible, but we feel the horrible man she got involved with is truly to blame for this whole situation. We also feel that he had her brainwashed from the first time they met."

Granted, the mother is probably suffering significant grief over these happenings. And the first response of nearly any mother is going to be to want to protect her child, to solve the problems, and make all of the bad go away. And given what is likely the mother's state of mind, I can't say that I blame her for saying such a thing.

But putting the grief aside for a few moments, consider that statement as (hypothetically) coming from a person who is of sound mind. If such a woman believes such a thing, I can't say that I'd be overwhelmingly surprised to find her raising children who murder. The statement is nothing else but a denial of personal responsibility. And raising a kid to avoid personal responsibility is just about the worst thing that a parent could do. Such avoidance is the primary reason for the evils that happen in this world.

The danger here is that such an argument will be used in court. Here you have a black man with a long rap sheet and a white woman who has no record at all. "He brainwashed her". What a load of crap. And, judging by the types of daytime television shows which become so very successful in America, I can see a jury of 12 nincompacs letting this bimbo off of the hook. Let's hope not.

Get over it.

Posted by Jeff at August 13, 2005 01:56 AM


Ditto; ESPECIALLY due to the fact that she has no previous record. She'll get a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: greenie at August 15, 2005 09:34 PM

Georges brother Leon is serving a life sentence in East Tennessee for murdering my 23 yr. old son Johnny Dillard on Valentines Day 1993. Seems like a bad bunch.

Posted by: Betty at December 14, 2006 08:44 PM

Yes but a woman who feels low about herself and the right man comes around to tell her what she has always wanted to hear will brainwash her, he is a conartist. And also think about her children.

Posted by: the one lady at January 9, 2007 09:07 PM

Ain't no such thing as brainwashing. If she feels low about herself, that'd explain her choice to behave as a fool. She's responsible.

Posted by: Jeff at January 9, 2007 09:23 PM

it all goes back to that song by david allen coe you should listen...i hope they frie....laughing

Posted by: scooter at January 17, 2007 01:21 PM


life without parole

Posted by: allie at September 18, 2007 02:19 PM

I think people should stay with ther own kinde. It whould be better for every one cuz there is alot of racisom going on. BK ALL DAY.

Posted by: hera at October 30, 2007 10:35 AM

i really disagree with the death penalty because people who comit crimes would suffer more their lifes in prison then dead the only people who would really suffer is their families and this isn't their fault.

Posted by: rosalia at October 23, 2008 10:30 AM

Hey everyone I would just like to let the family of Officer Cotton know that we the Correctional family do still think about them and pray for them! And knowing the outcome of the court hearings well we all know they got life, but there is one person on here that says they will suffer more in prison I strongly disagree!!!!

Posted by: Julie at September 24, 2009 07:41 PM

Wow...even from behind concrete bars, a man can have such a hold on a low self-esteem woman...How did he know he found the right nut...Prayers go out to the correctional officer and his family...

Posted by: Tracie at December 13, 2009 03:51 PM

Oxygen is airing this story on an episode of Snapped right now, and I have to say - I really do not feel at all sorry for this woman, Jennifer. Once George escaped, I can see how she could claim being afraid, things being without her control, etc. But SHE made the choice to bring guns to the court house, SHE made the choice to shoot. Because of HER choices, Officer Morgan died. Through the whole program, she sat there and whined about how George did this to her, George did that...and maybe he did. But the bottom line remains - SHE made the choice.

Maybe I'm being totally naïve here, but what could George have done to her had she not shown up at the courthouse that day? Not brought firearms? What could he have done had she decided NOT to go through with plans to break him loose?

Take responsibility, Girlie. YOU made the choice to go through with it. YOU shot that officer. YOU.

Posted by: Suzanne at January 28, 2010 02:55 PM

The purpose of prison is to protect valuable people like Jennifer but that didn't happen. Instead, Mr. harden criminal con man, is allowed to walk a women around like a regular night in shining armor. No freaking wonder she lost perspective of what George really was when everyone around has lost perspective as well. First he conned the jail system then used that opportunity to victimize Jennifer. Jennifer was foolish but she was not the one with the bright idea to team the 2 up. This story sounds like "The Body Guard" meets "natural born killers" Meets the Patty Hearst story to me... I truly believe Jennifer is a great candidate for forgiveness.

Posted by: yoshithin at November 12, 2010 01:50 PM

To the person who thinks death is worse than prison----If I ever go on trial for murder I hope they let you decide my punishment and make it death. Anyone who thinks death is worse than spending life behind bars obviously has very low standards on living. Most people do fight hard to live tho. Even if it is a life with no joy or sustanance. It would drive me crazy doing the same thing over and over day in and day out. Nice to know tho that most people do not mind it.

Posted by: diane at November 28, 2010 04:00 PM

Well, I knew Cotton Morgan all my life & I worked as a Correctional Officer for the Tennessee Department of Correctios. I also know George Hyatte...unfortunately.

Cotton was an awesome man! Everyone who met him was immediately drawn to him. Cotton was not only liked & respected by his peers & community, but by the inmates as well. It was one of the largest funerals I have ever seen.

Now, as far as George goes (Jennifer, too) I would have like to have seen the death penalty.

Just keep in mind...those inmates who respected Cotton so much...well they hate George just as much.

Draw your own conclusions....

Posted by: Dana at April 27, 2011 01:40 PM

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