Tierzah Mapson and Elisa Mapson, as well as their sister Charis Mapson (not pictured) were indicted by a federal grand jury in Birmingham in connection with an elaborate plan to ambush and kill the father of Tierzah’s baby, federal agents say.
By Carol Robinson | [email protected]
Three Oklahoma sisters – one of them a former U.S. Marine – plotted to lure a man to a small Alabama town and kill him in an ambush over a child visitation issue, according to federal court records.
A federal grand jury in Birmingham late last month indicted Tierzah Mapson, 27, Elisa Ann Mapson, 28 and Charis Mapson, 30, on federal charges stemming from the failed murder conspiracy that culminated with a non-fatal shooting in Walker County last year. All three are indicted on charges including conspiracy, interstate domestic violence, stalking, and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Tierzah Mapson and Elisa Mapson were arrested in Fortuna, California on Sept. 5 after a manhunt, said Fortuna police Det. Brian Taylor. The third sister was arrested Sept. 6 in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Court records chronicle an elaborate conspiracy that reads like a made-for-television movie with binoculars, disguises, secret campsites, “good luck beads” and lies – lots of them. The plan, according to FBI agents, was to coax the father of Tierzah’s baby and his new wife to Alabama to meet at a place under the guise of a visitation exchange but instead to shoot and kill them.
The death date was set for June 18, 2018 near a church on Highway 13 in Eldridge, Ala., a small, rural Walker County community about two miles from Interstate 22 and 22 miles northwest of Jasper. On that date, feds allege, there were more than 150 texts and phone calls between the three sisters, including words of encouragement about what was to come. “It’s just a Halo,’’ Elisa texted Charis at one point, an apparent reference to a first-person shooter video game.
Charging documents don’t say who they believe the shooter was, but agents noted that Charis served in the U.S. Marine Corp. from 2007 through 2011 “during which she was required to demonstrate a certain skill level in rifle marksmanship.”
The sisters lived in and around Tulsa. Tierzah was the biological mother of the minor child with a man with whom she had an intimate relationship in North Carolina in 2012. According to a 2014 North Carolina court order, Tierzah had primary custody of the child and the father had a defined visitation schedule that could be modified by agreement.
The baby’s father and his wife lived in Winter Park, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. In the early summer of 2018, agents say, the sisters devised the elaborate plan and Tierzah and Elisa temporarily moved to a Florida campsite called “Daytona’s Endless Summer Campground” which was 53 miles away from the home of Tierzah’s ex-husband.
The baby’s father believed he was meeting Tierzah to take the child for a two-week stay. Instead, records show, Tierza and the child never left Florida. Elisa, however, traveled from Florida to Alabama while Charis traveled from Oklahoma to Alabama. “All three used their cell phones to communicate and coordinate efforts,’’ according to the indictment.
While Elisa and Charis were traveling, Tierzah was texting her ex, keeping up the guise that she was coming to Alabama from Oklahoma to meet him. Investigators found notes on Elisa’s phone that listed: “disguises, ladder, climbing rope, binoculars, ‘write down what to text Thorn,’ luck beads, bless and luck, gloves and ‘after avoid Ala.’’
At some point, the FBI noted, they installed black stripes on Tierzah’s white 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck to alter its appearance.
About 4:30 p.m. on June 18, a white truck was seen driving into the parking lot of a church about 200 yards away from the designated meeting place to make the exchange of the child. “The truck disappeared behind the church, where there is a narrow alley between the church and a wooded hill rising behind it,’’ the FBI agent wrote. “
At 5:18 p.m., Tierzah’s ex texted her asking her about the location. She replied, “Sorry, a little while longer. (Minor child) got sick and puked.”
At 5:40 p.m., records state, the suspects fired multiple shots at the child’s father and his wife while they sat in their vehicle waiting for the meeting. One round entered the vehicle and struck the victim in the shoulder.
At 5:42 p.m., the white truck reappeared from behind the church and drove onto a nearby highway, traveling away from the meeting location. At 6:52 p.m., the child’s father texted Tierzah, saying “meeting place has changed due to a minor emergency” and provided a new meeting spot in Tuscaloosa. Tierzah replied that they had passed the meeting spot anyway since they were so used to driving to Florida and she would just meet him in Florida.
At 12:30 a.m. eastern time on June 18, Elisa bought two pair of binoculars in Port Orange Florida.
At 10:16 p.m. Charis texted Elisa “out” to which Elisa responded, “good.”
Federal records do not detail what happened after the shooting or say if the exchange of the child was ever made or further discussed. The agent noted the white Ford truck had returned to Florida by June 23, and the black stripes had been removed from the truck’s tailgate.
Investigators quickly identified the sisters as possible suspects. On June 22, Tierzah told agents of the FBI she drove from Oklahoma to Daytona Beach. After being confronted with the fact that the truck had been tracked to Alabama, she retracted her claim and asserted that her stalker took the truck from Daytona to Alabama without permission to talk to the child’s father, records state.
Charis told FBI agents that she was at work when her sister’s ex was shot. She also told them she did not go to Alabama in the summer of 2018 and did not give her phone to anyone who went to Alabama.
The indictment against the sisters was filed Aug. 29. The FBI then notified Fortuna police that the sisters might be hiding out in northern California. Officers were on the lookout for two of the sisters – Tierzah and Elisa – who were believed to be staying in a campground in Eureka. Det. Taylor found two vehicles belonging to the sisters in the 2100 block of Riverwalk Drive. The sisters were located a short time later and taken into custody after a brief struggle, according to a police department press release.
Tierzah Faith Mapson was taken to Humboldt County Correctional Facility to await extradition back to Alabama. Elisa Anne Mapson will be transported after obtaining medical clearance from a local hospital.
Charis remains jailed in Tulsa. Tierzah and Elisa are being held in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility in California. All three are awaiting extradition to Alabama. Walker County sheriff’s officials said they could not comment on the case because of possible pending state charges.