Man, woman prosecutors say confessed to torture, murder of pregnant woman set for sentencing

WEST ALLIS — Two charged in connection with the death of Tess White of West Allis, whose body was found in South Dakota in May of 2016 after she was reported missing by family, are set for sentencing.

Shanta Pearson

Shanta Pearson, 46, of Milwaukee on Tuesday, May 15 pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping/seize or confine without consent, and one count of robbery of a financial institution. A third charge was dismissed.

Pearson’s co-defendant, Tiffany Simmons, 37, of Milwaukee in March pleaded guilty to one count of first degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime, and one count of kidnapping/seize or confine without consent. A third charge was dismissed.

Tiffany Lynn Simmons

Simmons will be sentenced on June 4. Pearson will be sentenced on July 20.

Farmers found White’s body in a field in Grant County, South Dakota. It had been burned. An autopsy revealed the White was 10 weeks pregnant.

PHOTO GALLERY

Tess White

Court records show Simmons, White’s friend, confessed to torturing and killing White in a parking lot in West Allis. Surveillance video from a bank robbery helped lead police to their suspects in this case.

Tipsters told police that Pearson can be seen in that video — robbing a Milwaukee bank on May 6, 2016. Five days later, on May 11, 2016 Pearson was arrested in Colorado following a traffic stop. The driver, Simmons, was also arrested.

Meanwhile, West Allis police got a tip that White was having problems with a friend named Tiffany. That friend had allegedly used the victim’s bank card to withdraw $200.

After Pearson and Simmons were brought back to Wisconsin, police interviewed them and both talked about White. They said White had been “pinching their dope bag,” and when they picked up White on May 4, 2016, she and Simmons got into a fight. Pearson said he pulled over and tied White up in the truck. He then went to his apartment, leaving the two women in a parking lot at 81st and National.

Simmons allegedly confessed to police that this is when she tortured White, “putting out cigarettes on her skin and punching her.”

Simmons then allegedly suffocated White with plastic bags and strangled her with a rope.