Published November 17, 2014
An 18-year-old woman convicted of murdering her father and trying to kill her mother in a knife attack at their Michigan home was sentenced Friday to life in prison along with two young men convicted in the case.
Tia Skinner and 19-year-olds Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston were convicted earlier this year of first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to murder. The conviction came with mandatory life in prison without parole.
At the hearing in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Port Huron, Tia Skinner apologized to her family and said she loved her father, Paul Skinner. He was stabbed to death and his wife Mara Skinner was seriously wounded in the November attack at the family's home in Yale, about 85 miles northeast of Detroit.
"I never wanted my parents dead," she said. "I said something to a guy. He took what I said literally. He carried out the act."
Prosecutors say Tia Skinner was angry at her parents for forbidding her from seeing Kurtz and confiscating her cellphone, and Kurtz and Preston broke into the home and attacked the couple while Tia Skinner watched a movie in the basement.
Investigators said they were led to the suspects in part by a hand-drawn map — with the words "my house" written on it — that was found outside the scene of the violent home invasion.
"I thought I knew you . but I guess I never really knew you at all, and that's heartbreaking," Mara Skinner said to her daughter.
"I'm thankful for a justice system that works . and ensured that evil doesn't win."
Tia Skinner cried during a nearly eight-minute video presentation that included family pictures taken during holidays, school formals, vacations, graduations and a family wedding.
Kurtz and Preston also spoke at sentencing. Preston asked Judge Daniel Kelley for an acquittal, which he denied.