The Possible Wrongful Conviction of Angel Bumpass is Absolutely Heartbreaking
Angel Bumpass is a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a murder that happened when she was 13-years-old. The only piece of evidence the prosecution had against Bumpass was fingerprints on a piece of duct tape.
On the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2009, Franklin Bonner was found dead in his home after his wife, Linda Bonner, returned home from work. Bonner was bound to a chair and had duct tape covering his mouth and nose, causing him to suffocate. The house had been ransacked leading authorities to believe the suspects were looking for money. Fingerprints were taken from the crime scene and ran by Detective Karl Fields, but no matches were discovered. The case went cold for ten years.
In 2018, Bonner’s wife and Granddaughters asked if they could take another look at the case. The DA’s office reopened the case and ran the fingerprints with the help of the FBI. Two of the fingerprints that were found on the duct tape at the crime scene were a match with Angel Bumpass’.
Prosecutors claim a then 13-year-old Bumpass met up with a then 26-year-old Mallory Vaughn after school and walked to Bonner’s house with the intent of robbing him. Because of the placement of the fingerprints found, they assumed Bumpass was the one that restrained Bonner.
Another key piece of evidence the prosecutors used was Bumpass’ grandmother was the last person to call Bonner. At the time of the murder, her grandmother admitted she had called him to buy marijuana. When she took the stand, Bumpass’ grandmother denied talking to or buying marijuana from Bonner that day.
Bumpass’ grandfather also knew Bonner, because her grandfather was a handyman that sometimes performed jobs on his house. When he took the stand, he stated Bumpass was often in his workshop and played with the duct tape. He said it was possible he left duct tape at Bonner’s home after a job.
The jury deliberated for roughly four and a half hours before reaching their guilty verdict. Bumpass was sentenced to 60 years in prison on November 21, 2019.
Before being convicted, Bumpass was a mother of two children, attending her second year of school at Jefferson Community and Technical College. On her way out of the courtroom following her sentencing, Angel’s last words were, “I’ll never see my kids again.”
Since the airing of her case on A&E’s hit show Accused: Guilty or Innocent, Angel’s appeal has gained traction, with her family setting up a Change.org petition.