Latasha Pulliam And Dwight Jordan
A little girl is one of the most precious gifts a person could be blessed with. After having two boys, I was ecstatic to have a baby girl of my own, and although I love all of my children, my daughter holds a special place in my heart.
Most mothers would die to protect their children. Most mothers (and many women in general) would die to protect the life of a child who isn’t even their own. Latasha Pulliam is not one of these mothers and if there is a hell, I know the devil won’t hesitate to snatch her up and take her there.
The first time I heard about Latasha Pulliam, I could not believe that this depraved, sadistic monster didn’t have her own page on my favorite true crime website. I have been haunted by Latasha and the unthinkable crimes she committed for more than six months trying to find the words to write that would do the victims justice.
I knew I had to write about it, but actually getting out the words about what this sick monster did was a lot easier said than done. I tried for a long time to find the words that would fit in with the many excellent writers at PYSIH, but I couldn’t. So, after many long months of sitting on this story waiting for it to write itself, here goes…
In spring of 1991, Latasha Pulliam was a 19 year old crack addict who had already given birth twice and lived through a kind of hell on earth that most people don’t even know exists. Although the 21st of March began like any other spring day, it ended in a tragedy that would shake a small Springfield, Illinois neighborhood and forever alter the lives of one innocent child and the people who loved her.
Before I tell you about that fateful March day, it would probably be best to go back in time to when Latasha Pulliam was two years old, sometime in 1974, the year her mother and her mother’s boyfriends began raping and beating her. Although I have unfortunately learned that this is not all that rare, it is devastating nonetheless and undoubtedly led to the crimes Latasha Pulliam would eventually commit.
At the tender age of five, Latasha Pulliam’s mother began forcing the little girl to perform oral sex on her; she also brought random men into her home and forced her daughter to watch them engage in various sexual acts. It is not known whether or not these men had their way with Latasha, but I would be confident in assuming that some of them did.
When Latasha Pulliam was 14 years old she was living in a group home for troubled youth. That year she befriended another 14 year old girl in the home named Claudia. The two girls left the home one day and went to the home of Latasha’s 27 year old boyfriend.
Once there, Latasha Pulliam held her friend down while her boyfriend raped her vaginally, anally, and orally. Claudia was also forced to perform oral sex on Latasha. For her help in Claudia’s rape, Latasha was paid $20.
Later Latasha Pulliam recounted the event to her social worker and did not understand why everyone was so concerned about what happened. She reportedly told her social worker that she could have taken Claudia to a much worse place where even worse things could have happened to her.
A year later, Latasha was impregnated by her mother’s 37 year old boyfriend. She gave birth to a little girl whom she named Antoinette. Latasha Pulliam’s father was granted guardianship when Latasha had no desire to take care of her infant daughter. Sadly, being abandoned by her mother was probably one of the best things that could have ever happened to Antoinette.
Two years later Latasha Pulliam found herself pregnant once again, also by another one of her mother’s boyfriends. In 1988 Latasha Pulliam gave birth to another little girl, Patrice. Patrice was born with mild cerebral palsy and addicted to crack cocaine. In the first two years of her young life, Patrice was subjected to horrors that no human being should have to endure.
In March 1989, at five months old, Patrice was taken into a hospital with second degree burns on her buttocks consistent with the baby being submerged in scalding water. Latasha Pulliam claimed that she was trying to give Patrice a bath but didn’t realize the water was boiling hot until she had dipped her daughter into it.
But instead of taking her baby girl to a hospital immediately, Latasha Pulliam put little Patrice in a diaper and laid her down to sleep. She left her helpless infant in the same diaper for 16 hours with urine and feces seeping into the fresh burns before taking her to a hospital.
Second degree burns are said to be the most painful and having her burned buttocks sit against urine and feces for 16 hours would be, according to the ER doctor, the “equivalent of pouring acid on a scraped knee.” Patrice was hospitalized for a month after this incident.
Patrice was brought to the hospital again, less than a year later on February 16, 1990, where doctors discovered several injuries to her little body including two black eyes, cigarette burns on her arms, fingernail marks in her thighs, and two fresh tears in her hymen. The burns on her buttocks were still scabbed over and on top of the scabs was an injury consistent with Patrice being hit on the bottom with a hard object.
In case there was any question as to how Patrice came to be so injured, doctors indicated that the injuries could not have been self inflicted, meaning they did not believe that 15 month old Patrice gave herself the two black eyes, burned herself with cigarettes, or tore her own hymen. Patrice was eventually taken out of her mother’s care.
Fast forward to March 21, 1991, the day that 19 year old Latasha came across six year old Shenosha Richards, a neighborhood girl whom she and her boyfriend, 47 year old Dwight Jordan, knew. Little Shenosha had been warned recently by her mother never to go anywhere with Latasha, but Shenosha was lured away by Latasha Pulliam with promises of candy and a trip to see a movie.
Latasha Pulliam took the six year old to the apartment that she shared with Dwight Jordan. Once Shenosha Richards was in the apartment Latasha put her in a room alone with Dwight Jordan while she used cocaine in the next room. When she went back into the bedroom she found Shenosha crying on the floor with her underwear pulled down and Dwight Jordan behind her trying to achieve an erection.
Latasha Pulliam joined in attacking Shenosha Richards. While Dwight Jordan inserted a bottle of shoe polish into Shenosha’s rectum Latasha simultaneously put the handle of a hammer into her vagina. This caused tearing between her vagina and rectum, which would be similar to getting an episiotomy with a blunt object without anesthesia.
The rape continued for ten minutes; after the pair was done sexually assaulting the little girl, Latasha went to the front room, brought back a television cord and began strangling her. Latasha Pulliam and Dwight Jordan then took Shenosha Richards to another apartment where they claim she fell on a board with a nail causing two holes in her chest.
Later doctors would say that the holes were consistent with a nail being thrust into the girl’s chest, not her falling onto a nail. According to Latasha Pulliam’s confession, Shenosha would have had to fall on the board with the nail twice in order for her to have two holes in her chest.
In the apartment kitchen they started a fire to scare Shenosha Richards, a tactic that worked. According to the confession Shenosha then told Latasha “Don’t hurt me. I love you. I like the places you take me to, the things you buy.” Latasha Pulliam assured Shenosha that she wouldn’t hurt her or kill her.
Shenosha Richards told Latasha Pulliam that she wouldn’t tell anyone what happened at the apartment, but that she would have to tell her parents. This may have been when Latasha decided that Shenosha could not leave that apartment building alive. Dwight Jordan, possibly scared himself by the torture his girlfriend was capable of inflicting, left the scene. Shenosha was led by the cord around her neck back to Latasha’s apartment where she was thrown in a closet like a pile of dirty laundry.
Latasha Pulliam heard a knock at the back door so she closed the closet door and threw the little girl’s white tennis shoes out of a window. After getting the person on the other side of the door to leave, she went back to the closet and found that Shenosha Richards was no longer breathing.
Probably to ensure that the girl was dead, Latasha Pulliam then took the same hammer that she raped Shenosha with earlier and hit her three or four times on the head. She then put Shenosha Richards’ body into a garbage can outside of the building and hit her once more with a two by four.
During the attack, Shenosha’s mother discovered that her daughter was missing and began frantically searching for her. A neighbor told her that they had seen Shenosha leaving a corner store with Latasha earlier.Shenosha Richards’ mother went to Latasha’s apartment and searched for her daughter there. When she didn’t find her she left and came back a short time later with one of her older daughters.
After searching the apartment again without finding Shenosha, Mrs. Richards and her daughter left the building. As she was walking out the front door she saw an elbow of what she thought was a doll hanging out of a garbage can. She touched the arm and found that it was a human body.
The raped and battered body of her six year old daughter lay crumpled in a garbage can, still warm. When Mrs. Richards took her baby out of the dumpster, she found the television cord still wrapped around Shenosha’s neck. She was bleeding from her head, chest, buttocks, and vagina and she had vomit in her mouth. The little girl’s mother, who had to have been in a state of utter shock, tried to clean Shenosha Richards’ mouth and perform mouth to mouth while neighbors called 911. Upon arriving at the hospital doctors tried to revive Shenosha for over twenty minutes before she was pronounced dead.
A neighbor who saw Latasha trying to flee the scene chased the woman down before she could get away. She was arrested and almost immediately offered a full, albeit understated, confession of the atrocities that she committed in the apartment building that day.
Afterward, she would claim that the confession was the only evidence pointing to her guilt, however Shenosha Richards’ blood was found in the apartment Latasha Pulliam and Dwight Jordan shared and Latasha was seen shaking blood off her hands as she fled the scene. Dwight Jordan was later brought in and on April 17, 1991 they were both indicted on 131 counts of murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated unlawful restraint.
Dr. Fauteck testified on behalf of the State. He stated that, based on both his examination of defendant on October 7, 1991, and his review of the facts of the case, it was his opinion that defendant did not suffer from a mental illness at the time the crimes were committed.
Instead, he testified that defendant was a “sexual sadist” with borderline intellectual functioning and antisocial personality disorder. He described a sexual sadist as a person who sexually enjoys inflicting pain and suffering on another person. He noted that in its severe form it tends to get worse over time and is “virtually untreatable.”
Latasha pleaded criminally insane although the defense’s own psychiatrist testified to the fact that Latasha did not have mental illness, but was a malingerer. Dwight Jordan and Latasha Pulliam were tried simultaneously and convicted in 1994 of first degree murder, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping.
Because Dwight Jordan was not present in the apartment when Shenosha’s life was ended, he did not meet the criteria for the death penalty and instead received life in prison. Latasha Pulliam was given a death sentence for the rape, torture, and murder of Shenosha Richards.
In March 2003 the Governor of Illinois granted clemency for all 167 people on Illinois’s death row, including Latasha Pulliam. Her sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole.
I have read almost all of the stories on this site and been personally affected by several. Crimes against children who are unable to defend and protect themselves are the most heinous in my eyes. Latasha Pulliam is the epitome of evil, considered by some experts as a female John Gacy, who finds sexual satisfaction in hurting others weaker than she is.
Although the crimes that Latasha Pulliam committed are unthinkable, detestable, and without a doubt hell-worthy, I was devastated to learn that the murder of Shenosha did not even make the local news in Springfield, Illinois. To me, that is a slap in the face of the victim and everyone who loves and misses her.
I was the same age as Shenosha when she was murdered, I never knew her or her family, but I want her to be remembered because all victims of people such as Latasha Pulliam deserve to be remembered, to have their stories told. I will never forget Shenosha Richards, and now I won’t be the only one.
This story was written and submitted by nicolenumbertwo. Congratulation Nicole on your first article for PYSIH. I found it one of the most moving, yet Infuriating, Stories I’ve ever edited and published for this website.
I just have one thing of my own to add. One of the best places for an amateur journalist like myself to get the facts of a particular crime, without fear of media hype or bias, is in the “Fact Of The Case” section of the defendant’s appeal
The decision is almost universally available online, in almost every state, and as far as I’ve found, a PDF is always free. Anyways, that’s where I found this summary of the “42 distinct injuries” that were found on Shenosha Richards during autopsy:
She sustained two puncture wounds to her chest which damaged her lungs and coronary artery. The examiner testified that these wounds were consistent with being struck by a board with a nail. Shenosha had six lacerations on her head, three of which penetrated through to the skull. These injuries were consistent with being hit with a hammer, or a board such as a two-by-four. She had injuries under her chin which were consistent with ligature strangulation. She sustained lacerations to the skin of her anus which were consistent with a traumatic penetration or sexual assault. Injuries caused by the penetration were at least eight inches deep, consistent with the handle of the hammer or the shoe-polish bottle. She also had lacerations alongside her clitoris and on the lower surface of her vagina extending to her anus which were consistent with penetration of the hammer or the shoe-polish bottle.
Yeah, right. I think I have an idea how nicolenumbertwo felt when she wrote this article.
I apologize for the lack of pictures and video – I looked for a solid two hours, and I came up with nothing. Fortunately, the story itself is so well written, and the material so gripping that pictures and video really weren’t necessary
Do Latasha Pulliam And Dwight Jordan Deserve Hell?
- Yes, they both do (98%, 645 Votes)
- Yes, but only Latasha Pulliam (2%, 13 Votes)
- No (0%, 2 Votes)
- Yes, but only Dwight Jordan (0%, 1 Votes)
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