Tiffany Marie Souers, a 20-year-old college junior at Clemson University, was found deceased in her apartment by a former roommate on May 26, 2006. Her killer, Jerry Buck Inman, waited for Souers to return home and then sneaked into her room through the apartment’s balcony. Inman bound Souers by her wrist, raped her, stole her debit card, and then strangled her with her bikini top. Jerry Buck Inman is currently on death row and is known by the media as the “Bikini Strangler”.
Tiffany’s friends dropped her at her apartment on Thursday night. It was summer break, so her roommates were not home. Tiffany was alone in her apartment.
Around 1am, Inman awakened Tiffany, jumping on top of her body while wielding a revolver.
The man, Jerry Buck Inman, had ordered Tiffany to be quiet as he began tieing her hands and feet with her own clothes.
Inman raped Tiffany, stole her purse, and left her dead body on the floor of her apartment. Tiffany’s bikini top was wrapped tightly around her neck and her body left nude from the waist down.
It was Tiffany’s former roommate who had found her body several hours later when he was returning his apartment key.
Tiffany Marie Souers, a St. Louis native, was attending summer classes at Clemson University with the goal of graduating one year earlier. She was at the top of her class, and on track to receive an engineering degree from Clemson, which has one of the top engineering programs in the country.
Education came easily to Tiffany. She excelled in physics and math.
Holly Bergman, Tiffany’s best friend and roommate, told the Greenville News that her murder was “like losing a sister.”
Another roommate remembered Tiffany’s “contagious laugh”.
Family recalled Tiffany as a “serial do-gooder” because of her insatiable desire to volunteer at charities and to give her time to less fortunate individuals. While many students spend their down time with friends or partying, Tiffany spent hers helping and organizing local charity events around Easly, South Carolina.
Souers was the eldest of 3 children. She graduated from Villa Duchesne Highschool in Frontenac, Missouri in 2004.
Family recalled that Tiffany once learned sign language with the sole purpose of teaching “deaf children about butterflies.” These children were a part of the Butterfly House, which is a non-profit program in which Tiffany donated her time.
In 8th grade, Tiffany helped around in homeless shelters and nursing homes, pushing wheelchairs of the elderly each Sunday to Mass.
Tiffany’s long history of kindness gave her the experience needed to change the world in the best way possible. Tiffany Souers planned to graduate early and use her engineering degree to make society a better place.
The autopsy of Tiffany Souers clearly shows that the 20-year-old suffered a horrible death at the hands of Jerry Buck Inman.
Her time of death was around 1:30am of Friday morning. Inman had entered through the balcony and surprised Tiffany, which struggled and fought back, according to her defensive wounds.
Police found no signs of a break in and no obvious signs of a struggle, although police later discovered that Inman had taken Tiffany’s bed sheet with him and discarded it in a different location.
Inman bound Tiffany’s feet and hands behind her back and brutally raped her, both anally and vaginally. Inman’s sperm was found on the apartment floor, which was matched in CODIS on June 5, 2006.
There were “extensive bruisings” on both Tiffany’s wrist and ankles, showing that Inman fully restrained her during the rape.
The official cause of death was asphyxia due to ligature strangulation. According to the medical examiner, the bikini used to kill her was “tightly twisted around her neck, cutting off the blood flow.”
Two separate ATMs on Tiger Boulevard caught Jerry Inman unsuccessfully trying to withdrawal money from Tiffany’s debit account. Inman later admitted to police that he forgot the pin number Tiffany gave him.
Inman had covered his face with a bandana, however, his attempt at concealing his identity was proved futile. In the background, Jerry’s Chevy Blazer was spotted, which was easily identified by the unique grill work.
The ATM’s photos reveal Inamn’s facial structure and his skin color, both descriptors used by police to track the killer down.
A pedestrian picking up cans found Tiffany Souers driver’s license, thrown out by Inman, on Highway 76 near Tri-County Tech.
Jerry Inman was tracked down and arrested at his mother’s home in Dandridge, Tennessee. He later admitted that he was in Clemson because he randomly ended up there after looking for a place to rob.
His mother, Vera McArthur, told police that her son is “bipolar and often suicidal” and that she rarely knew where he was, claiming that “he just takes off and is gone a couple of days.”
Tiffany Souers wasn’t the only woman to be raped by Jerry Buck Inman, but was the only one that he murdered. Inman confessed that in the five days leading up to the Souers murder, he had gone on “day trips” through Tennessee and Alabama and raped at least 2 other women.
DNA later verified these accounts found from rape test kits.
Police also charged Inman with a 3-year-old Forest Park rape in the St. Louis area after he was arrested.
On May 22, 2006, Inman raped J_G_ (redacted name), a single mother from Sevierville, Tennessee. She woke up around 5am that morning to find Inman on top of her wielding a large knife.
“He tied her hands with her bra behind her back. Her little girl was crying. With her knees on the floor, [he] unsuccessfully attempted to rape her from the rear, and then turned her over, continuing to hold the knife against her neck. At that point, he raped her. He then took her to the bathroom and made her clean herself with shampoo twice. He placed her and her daughter in the bathroom.”
This victim later saw Inman’s face on the news after his arrest and she notified the police.
At the time of Jerry Buck Inman’s arrest, he was working construction in Dandridge and living with his mother and stepfather.
After reading Inman’s rap sheet, you may wonder how the judges could even let someone so sinister back into society. Especially since Inman expressed no desire to be let out of prison, stating that he was “afraid of being released.” He stated that “I’ve shown by my actions both in and out of prison that I cannot be rehabilitated.”
A judge released Inman from a Florida penitentiary where he was convicted in 1989 of a sexual battery with a weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, grand theft auto, kidnapping and aggravated assault with the intent to kill.
Police arrested Inman when he was only 16 years old and sentenced to 30 years (which he served 17) in a Florida penitentiary. Inman was also convicted of a 1988 second degree offense in Buncombe County, N.C.
It is interesting, and of course horrendous, to note that the way Jerry Buck Inman bound his victims was the same way that he was bound up as a 3-year-old child. His older sister also admitted growing up in a sexually abusive household with her brother.
Inman’s sister claims that her grandfather would enter her bedroom when Jerry was 3, and she was 5. Jerry’s sister, being on the top bunk, would be raped first by her grandfather as she was tied and blindfolded. The grandfather would then turn 3-year-old Jerry Inman over, bind the boy’s hands and feet, lean him forward over the bed in “an awkward position” and then penetrate him.
The siblings’ father would also rape the children in the same fashion.
The Inman children were raised in a violent and abusive household. Jerry started having seizures as a child, his father too drunk to help or care, and his mother too delusional to notice. His mother was schizophrenic, a claim the defense lawyer later used to remove the death penalty from Inamn’s future.
At 10 years old, Jerry Inman began using heavy drugs. He left home at 13 and was received a 30 year jail sentence days before his 17th birthday.
Dr. David Price, an expert in forensic psychiatry, clinical psychiatry, and neuropsychiatry stated that Jerry Inman suffered from multiple disorders including dysthymia (depression over 2 years) major depressive disorder, with psychotic features, bipolar disorder and psychorhythimic disorder, personality disorders, schizoid , dissociative identity disorder, and sexual paraphilia.
Jerry Inman told the judge that he preferred the death penalty, stating “I don’t say any of this to be disrespectful, but your honor, in all reality, there’s really only one sentence appropriate for someone like me, and I ask you to impose that sentence.”
Inman has tried to kill himself several times since incarcerated. He has slit his wrists, cut open his jugular vein, starved himself and even swallowed barbed wire. He continues to consider himself a “fucking animal.”
Inman was placed on death row, but despite his desires to die, was granted a post conviction relief in 2012. Jerry Buck Inman is still awaiting his ultimate sentence, either life in prison or death.
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