Marybeth Tinning again denied parole

Convicted child killer Marybeth Tinning has been denied parole again, now for the third time, state
Marybeth Tinning is shown in a 2007 photo.
Marybeth Tinning is shown in a 2007 photo.

Convicted child killer Marybeth Tinning has been denied parole again, now for the third time, state parole officials said Tuesday.

Details of the denial were not yet available Tuesday, but if her parole hearing went as it did last time, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said, he believes the decision to hold her was a correct one.

At her last parole hearing in early 2009, Tinning explained her crime to the parole board by saying she was “going through bad times.”

The parole board concluded then that her expression of remorse was “superficial at best.”

Asked about the denial Tuesday, Carney called Tinning’s 2009 parole testimony a good illustration that she hadn’t come to grips with what she did.

“I think before you can evaluate whether somebody is a risk, you have to believe that the person has acknowledged what they’ve done, and she’s never done so,” Carney said. “That being the case, she’s not been honest with anybody about her behavior. I wouldn’t want to see her around anybody who’s vulnerable, other children or elderly people.

“I wouldn’t trust her at all.”

Tinning, now 68, was sentenced in 1987 to 20 years to life in prison, convicted in the smothering death of her 4-month-old daughter, Tami Lynne. Tami Lynne was killed Dec. 20, 1985.

Tinning was also suspected, but never tried or convicted, in the deaths of seven of her eight other children over a 14-year period. The family lived in Schenectady at the time. Key to her case was a confession in which she allegedly admitted to killing three of her children.

Tinning has had some high-profile backers for release, including the man who got the crucial confession from her. Before her first parole board appearance, William A. Barnes, an investigator at the time with the state police who later served as Schenectady County sheriff, said he believed she was no longer a threat and had expressed remorse.

The presiding judge at Tinning’s Schenectady County Court trial, Clifford Harrigan, also sent a letter in 2007 saying he would not oppose her release, based on information he was provided by Tinning’s appeals attorney.

Tinning’s trial attorney, Paul Callahan, echoed those sentiments Tuesday.

Callahan said his sense from trial jurors at the time was that they weren’t looking for the worst penalty.

“I think everybody thought that after 20 years she’d be out,” said Callahan, who still practices in Schenectady County. He later added, “I don’t see where she’s a threat.”

The parole board’s decision means that Tinning will spend at least two more years in prison. She is next eligible for parole in January 2013.

She was first eligible for parole in 2007. The board denied her then as well as her second opportunity in 2009.

Tinning remains housed at the state’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County. Tinning’s husband, Joseph, has stood by her since her initial arrest. He has traveled to the correctional facility twice a month for as long as she has been incarcerated there.

Categories: Schenectady County

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