Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The 6th Annual Norman Bates Award: The Biggest & Best Field Ever

Hooray! It’s awards season. And right on the heels of Sunday’s Golden Globes comes the widely anticipated 2015 Norman Bates Award™. This year we have sixteen highly qualified nominees, all culled from the past 12 months of I Smell Dead People posts here at FirstNerve. And what a group of nominees they are. Among them are two couples, five people living with the corpse of someone they are thought to have murdered, and six people who lived with the body of a family member (four mothers, a grandfather, and a father + sister).

In the spirit of award ceremonies everywhere, we begin with a lesser category. The Norman Bates Award—Mobile Division has only a single nominee:

Tonya Slaton

Tonya Slaton, 44, of Richmond, Virginia, who kept the body of her young son in a plastic bag in the trunk of her car while driving around in it since 2004.

By acclamation, therefore, the Roaming Norman goes to Tonya Slayton. Congratulations!

And now for the main prize. Here are the nominees:

Tammy Conner

Tammy Conner of Jacksonville, Florida, who allegedly shot and killed her married boyfriend, then left his body in the enclosed porch of her home which she sealed with plastic sheets and supplied with air fresheners.

Leon Edward Collier, 45, of Little River, South Carolina, who is alleged to have killed his girlfriend and stuffed her body into a closet in the house.

Charles Cole

Charles Cole, 48, and his wife Ronalda, from upstate New York, who lived in a motel room with his mother’s body for seven weeks before driving to South Carolina and dumping it near I-95.

Alfred Guerrero of Ontario, California, who lived briefly with a body in his long-term rental motel room.

Brandon Griswold

Whitney Gray

Brandon Griswold, 20, and his girlfriend Whitney Gray, 21, of Nashville, Tennessee, who bludgeoned their roommates to death and stashed their bodies in the apartment’s utility closet while continuing to live there.

Mary Kersting

Mary Kersting, 60, of Gloversville, New York, who kept her dead mother’s body in the apartment below hers for about a year while collecting the old lady’s benefit checks.

Cheyanne Jessie

Cheyanne Jessie, 25, of Lakeland, Florida, who allegedly killed her father and 6-year-old daughter so that she could be with her boyfriend, then lived with the bodies in her house a few days before moving them to a storage shed because of the smell.

Michael Eugene Sticken

Michael Eugene Sticken, 60, of Pace, Florida, who hid the body of his 81-year-old mother under blankets on a couch in their house for four months while withdrawing her Social Security payments from their joint bank account.

Partha De of Kolkata, India, who lived for about six months in his apartment along with the bodies of his father, sister, and the sister’s two dogs, while burning candles, playing eerie background music, and pretending to feed them.

The adult grandson of ninety-two-year-old Robert L. Sufana of Portage, Indiana, who for over a week failed to look in on the old man who was confined to a bedroom in the house even as the smell of decay became noticeable from the street outside.

Barbara Ann Helton

Barbara Ann Helton, 58, a parolee from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who apparently lived for weeks with the body of her dead landlord stuffed in an upstairs closet.

“Carolyn” from San Francisco, California, who lived in a Richmond District “hoarder” house with the mummified remains of her mother for at least a year if not more.

The unnamed woman from Lakeside, California, who was discovered by deputies serving an eviction notice to have been living for six months to a year with a body placed in a container sealed with duct tape.

At FirstNerve we are big believers in procedural transparency. So we freely admit to giving greater weight to nominees who lived up close and personal with the decaying remains. Also, we think that long-term Batesian co-habitation counts for more than a couple of days spent around the smell of initial decomp. Based on these criteria, we can whittle the field down to finalists Charles and Ronalda Cole, Michael Eugene Sticken, Parthe De, and “Carolyn” from San Francisco.

It’s still a tough call, but we think that Mr. and Mrs. Cole take the cake. Imagine spending seven weeks in a motel room with your spouse. Then imagine the same conditions but with a decomposing body on the scene. Then imagine the conversation:
“Honey, I think it’s time we drove Mom to South Carolina and dumped her.”
“If you say so, sweetheart.”
“Give me hand carrying her to the car, will you?”
So congratulations to Charles and Ronalda Cole, co-winners of the 2015 Norman Bates Award, and thanks for bringing the prize back to the U.S.A. after two years abroad.

List of previous winners:

2014 Anonymous 55-year-old lady from Munich, Germany
2013 Madame H. of Brussels, Belgium
2012 Kit Darrant
2011 Twin brothers Edwin Larry Berndt & Edward Christian Berndt
2010 Alan Derrick

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