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Murder of Tammy Craycraft Smith: Stabbed over 30 times by Christopher Burns and Christy Williams

Police tape

This week on Your Worst Nightmare, the team is examing the violent death of Tammy Craycraft Smith from Muncie, Indiana.

In February 2001, Tammy was found violently stabbed to death in her apartment. The 30-year-old had been slashed 32 times.

Her murderers were her ex-boyfriend 19-year-old Christopher Burns and his new girlfriend, Christy R. Shinnock Williams, 22 at the time. They fled across the country but were soon picked up by cops in Phoenix, Arizona.

Authorities believe that Williams persuaded her boyfriend to kill and rob Tammy. The pair had planned to murder Tammy on a previous occasion, but Burns had had second thoughts and backed out. Williams had taunted her boyfriend for not having the guts to go through with it.

The police discovered letters written by Williams -supposedly to herself- which had stated the hope that Burns would go through with the murder on this occasion. “Hopefully, he’ll go through with it so the stupid b**** will be dead, and we’ll have each other, just the two of us,” she wrote the day before Tammy died.

Burns wanted to ‘set Muncie off’ with the gruesome murder

While Williams may have manipulated Burns to some degree, he was far from innocent in this horrendous crime. He told the Arizona cops that he enjoyed reading books on serial killers and that he killed Tammy in as gruesome a manner as possible. He told them he wanted to shock the town. In his own words, he hoped to “set Muncie off.

Burns pleaded guilty when the prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Williams’s defense lawyers argued for leniency based on mental issues coupled with her troubled and often abusive childhood. She was given a maximum sentence of 65 years. At her sentencing, Judge Richard Dailey referred to herself and Burns as “the barf and gag of the social trash heap.”

More from Your Worst Nightmare

Follow the links to read about horrific crimes profiled on Your Worst Nightmare.

Peggy Klinke was afraid of what boyfriend Patrick Kennedy would do if she left him. Her fears were realized when he spent a year stalking her. After she fled the state, he eventually hunted her down and broke into her apartment before shooting her dead and turning the gun on himself.

Jonathan Pearson attacked his girlfriend, Joi Partain, as she tried to sleep with a golf club. He smashed her in the face between 10 and 15 times before the club snapped in half. He then resumed beating her with another club. This violent brute was given 15 years in prison.

Your Worst Nightmare airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.


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