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Natasha Wallen Cornett (born January 26, 1979) is an American criminal currently serving a sentence of life without parole at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville for her involvement in the Lillelid murders. Professionals involved with troubled teens see the life of Natasha Cornett as a warning of the failures of the school, mental health and criminal justice systems in preventive treatment.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cornett was born into poverty in rural Pike County, located in Eastern Kentucky. Cornett's mother Madonna Wallen was not married to her biological father, a local policeman named Roger Burgess with whom Madonna was having an affair.[2] When Natasha was young, Madonna left her husband, Ed Wallen, and raised Natasha alone as a single mother in a trailer located in the outskirts of Pikeville, Kentucky.[2] By junior high school Cornett was alienated from her fellow pupils due to her unconventional behavior. She suffered from anorexia and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder which went largely untreated due to lack of health insurance.[2] Sometime during her freshman year of high school Cornett dropped out.

Married to a long time friend named Stephen Cornett on her 17th birthday, Natasha told Women's Entertainment Network interviewers in a 2009 documentary that when Stephen ended the marriage after only a matter of months she was "devastated".

Cornett had embraced the Goth subculture manner of black clothing and dark "doom-ridden music".[2] Also at this time Cornett was abusing drugs and alcohol and practicing self-mutilation, activities she had been involved with since her early teen years. Young people similarly inclined were drawn to Cornett and she became the informal leader the group.

Lillelid murders[edit]

Main article: Lillelid murders

On April 6, 1997, Cornett, looking to escape what was to her the boredom, poverty, and general unhappiness of life in Pikeville, took to the road with five other disaffected youths: Edward Dean Mullins, 19; Joseph Lance Risner, 20; Crystal R. Sturgill, 18; Jason Blake Bryant, 14; and Karen R. Howell, 17. The gang was hoping to start a new life in New Orleans. By chance, they met the Lillelid family at an interstate highway rest area in Greeneville, Tennessee. Norway-born Vidar Lillelid (age 34), his American wife Delfina (28), their daughter Tabitha (6) and son Peter (2) were Jehovah's Witnesses hoping to convert the troubled youths. Instead, the gang kidnapped the Lillelid family, then shot each family member on a deserted Baileyton, Tennessee, road. Vidar and Delfina were found dead, while Tabitha died after being transported to the hospital. Peter, who was found lying in a ditch, was the only survivor. He had been shot once in the torso and once through the eye. As a result of the shooting, he was left blind in one eye and permanently disabled.[3] Two days after the shootings, Cornett and the five others were taken into custody by US Customs and Immigration officials in Arizona while trying to cross into Mexico in the Lillelid family's stolen van.[3][4]

The trial[edit]

At the trial held in Greeneville, Tennessee, Cornett, then 19, was convicted in March 13, 1998, with the five other youths for the murders. Her conviction was the result of a plea bargain where Cornett pled guilty to all charges against her to avoid a possible death sentence.[5] Although she took the plea bargain, court testimony strongly established she did not participate in the actual shooting of the four victims.[2] During her own testimony Cornett claimed she tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent the deaths. They all admitted to first degree murder and each received three life sentences.[6]

Life in prison[edit]

Since her arrival at the prison in Nashville, Cornett has earned her GED and a certification in cosmetology. In a 2007 article published in The Knoxville News, Madonna Wallen stated that her daughter serves as a mentor for some fellow inmates as they work to earn their GEDs.[3]

On August 24, 2001, Cornett and death row inmate Christa Pike allegedly attacked fellow prisoner Patricia Jones, nearly strangling Jones to death with a shoe string after Pike and Jones were placed in a holding cell with Cornett during a fire alarm.[7] Although the Department of Corrections believed that Cornett was involved, investigators found insufficient evidence to charge her with helping Pike, who was subsequently found guilty of attempted murder.[8]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natasha_Cornett — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

The Inquisitr
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:14:19 -0800

Pikes has proved anything but remorseful in prison. In 2004, she was convicted of trying to strangle another inmate, Patricia Jones, according to Daily Mail, using a shoestring. Pike carried out the attack with another prison inmate, Natasha Cornett ...
Fri, 11 Dec 2015 20:33:49 -0800

Women In Film has announced the recipients of the organization's 30th annual Film Finishing Fund grant program. Founded in 1973, the group focuses on advocacy and education, providing material and financial assistance to filmmakers and working to ...

Indie Wire (blog)

Indie Wire (blog)
Mon, 14 Dec 2015 10:56:15 -0800

Three narrative features, four documentary features and a pair of shorts -- all from female filmmakers -- have been selected to receive Women in Film's finishing funds this year. WIF's 30th annual finishing-fund-grant cycle received over 250 ...

San Francisco Bay Area Today

San Francisco Bay Area Today
Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:41:15 -0800

Living in the small town of Betsy Lane, Kentucky, 18-year-old Natasha Cornett stood out among the rest of the town’s citizenry. She dressed in black and wore a lot of eye makeup. In January 1996, she was married in a Goth-style wedding. She wore a ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:00:54 -0700

She carried out the attack with another inmate, Natasha Cornett. In phone calls recorded by the prison in 2001, Pike bragged about the attack and vowed to finish the job as she spoke to her mother. 'I betcha if she gets near me, I'm gonna do it again ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:56:43 -0800

And so the pair had plenty to talk about as they caught up at the launch of Natasha Corrett's new book Honestly Healthy Cleanse at Treadwell's in London on Wednesday night. The reality TV pair were dressed for two very different events as Rosie, 25 ...


Mon, 28 Oct 2013 19:28:36 -0700

... tested periodically for signs of the virus. Second: Not here in the Bluegrass? Is that a joke? Do you think we're immune to psycho's? Google these names: Lafonda Fay Foster & Tina Powell, Jason Singleton & Chrstina Marcum, Natasha Cornett, Kathy Coy.

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