|For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE CONVICTED OF 1985 SHOOTING-MURDER OF ESTRANGED WIFE IN FRONT OF THEIR 13-MONTH-OLD SON
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of an inmate convicted of the 1985 shooting-murder of his estranged wife in front of their 13-month-old son. Horace Tanniehill, 53, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count each of second degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced May 9, 1986, to 20 years to life in state prison. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Edward Munoz. He is being held at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville and is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, April 18, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos will appear at the hearing to oppose parole.
Murder of Frances Marie Tanniehill
Inmate Horace Tanniehill and 25-year-old Frances Marie Tanniehill were married Marines stationed at the El Toro base with a 13-month-old son. Prior to the murder of Frances Tanniehill, inmate Horace Tanniehill had threatened her life and physically and mentally abused her, which resulted in a restraining order against him.
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on July 7, 1985, then-26-year-old Horace Tanniehill dropped off their son at Frances Tanniehill’s apartment. At approximately 10:30 p.m., Horace Tanniehill was still at his estranged wife’s apartment complex. She walked out holding her son and confronted him, and during the argument he grabbed her. She was able to break free and run from him toward the apartments, but Horace Tanniehill chased after her holding a handgun. He grabbed her and began to drag her toward the alleyway while she pleaded and begged him not to kill her. She managed to free herself again and began running away when he shot her. Frances Tanniehill put her baby down and fell a short distance away near a car. Horace Tanniehill then stood over her and shot the victim five more times in the chest in front of their baby son.
Tanniehill fled the scene and attempted to commit suicide. He was found by police a short time later in a nearby park with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lack of Responsibility, Prison Violations, and Risk to Public Safety
Tanniehill maintains that he only wanted to hurt his wife, not kill her. The circumstances of this case, however, show that the inmate intended to murder his wife by shooting her at close range in front of their baby with reckless disregard for how it would affect their son.
While incarcerated, Tanniehill has incurred five prison rules violations for possession of marijuana, mutual combat, failure to turn in a medical shop tool, delaying lock-up, and smoking outside a work site.