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On October 29, 1996, 71-year-old Maria Palomina was murdered at the Green Arbor Apartments in Houston, Texas. The following day, October 30, 1996 Houston Detectives returned to the complex to question Jennifer Jeffley, an eighth-grader who lived in the same apartment complex as Ms. Palomina.

Jennifer was taken to a Houston Police Department substation for questioning without a parent, guardian, or legal counsel present. She was locked inside an interrogation room and interrogated for more than 8 hours. At no point was she aware that she was free to leave. The detectives provided Jennifer with a typed statement. The statement was a confession to the murder of Ms. Palomina. The police promised Jennifer that if she signed the inculpatory statement, she could go home. 

Upon signing, Jennifer was charged with capital murder and tried as an adult, despite 17 being the legal age for an adult in Texas. Her coerced confession was the sole piece of evidence used at trial to convict her.

On December 05, 1997, Jennifer was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with eligibility for parole after serving 40 years, she will be 55 years old.


Although a minor child, Jennifer’s interrogation was not video or audio recorded.

There was no parent or legal counsel present.

Neither Jennifer’s
DNA nor her fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime.

A letter from the Houston Crime Lab sent to Jennifer in 2004, 7 years post-conviction, indicated that the DNA in her case was that of unknown parties

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has refused to engage any inquiries regarding Jennifer’s trial, as has the Houston Police Department. 

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