ELDRIDGE, Ala. — Three Oklahoma sisters, including a former U.S. Marine, have been charged through a federal indictment with plotting to kill the father of the child of one of the sisters after luring him to rural Alabama for a supposed custody swap.
Tierzah Faith Mapson, 27; Elisa Anne Mapson, 28; and Charis Mapson, 30; all of the Tulsa area, were indicted Aug. 29 on charges of conspiracy, interstate domestic violence, stalking and the use of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, according to federal court documents.
Tierzah and Elisa Mapson were captured Sept. 5 in Fortuna, California, after police received information that they were hiding at a campground in Eureka. A detective who received details from the FBI spotted the women's vehicles parked in Fortuna and, after a brief struggle, took both into custody, Fortuna Police Department officials said.
Both women remained in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on Friday, awaiting extradition to Alabama, where the nonfatal shooting took place.
Charis Mapson was arrested Sept. 6 in Tulsa. She will remain in the Tulsa County Jail until she is brought back to Alabama to face the charges.
The indictment, which was unsealed after the sisters were taken into custody, lays out an elaborate plot to kill the father of Tierzah Mapson's child, who is the product of a 2012 sexual relationship between the two.
A 2014 North Carolina state court order established joint legal custody of the child, with Tierzah Mapson retaining physical custody and the child's father having a defined visitation schedule that could be modified by agreement of both parents.
The sisters are accused of luring the child's father and his wife to the parking lot of Barbara Ann's Place, a convenience store in rural Eldridge, Alabama, in June 2018, under the ruse of giving him the child for a two-week visit. At the time, the man and his wife lived in a suburb of Orlando.
As the couple waited in their truck, multiple shots were fired at the vehicle. One round struck the man in the shoulder, but he survived.
Court documents do not say which sister is believed to have fired the gun, but Charis Mapson served in the Marine Corps from 2007 to 2011, federal authorities say. During her service, "she was required to demonstrate a certain skill level in rifle marksmanship."
The indictment states that, on May 31, 2018, Elisa Mapson rented a campsite at Daytona's Endless Summer Campground, located about 53 miles from the home of the baby's father in Winter Park. Tierzah Mapson and her child were also staying at the campground, federal agents allege.
In early June 2018, Tierzah Mapson agreed to give the man custody of the child later that month for a visit. On June 17, the day before the shooting, Elisa Mapson created a note on her cellphone listing disguises, a ladder, climbing rope, binoculars, gloves, "luck beads" and a "bless and luck necklace."
According to the indictment, the note also stated, "Write down what to text Thorn," and, "After, avoid Ala."
That same day, Elisa Mapson used her cellphone to place a nine-minute call to Charis Mapson. She also searched the internet for a list of gas stations in Alabama, the indictment says.
Around noon that day, Charis Mapson left Tulsa and began driving to Alabama.
That night, Elisa Mapson texted Charis Mapson the meeting location at Barbara Ann's Place, located at 54240 Highway 13 in Eldridge. Charis Mapson arrived in Eldridge around 10:45 p.m.
Shortly before the former Marine arrived in Eldridge, Tierzah Mapson texted the child's father with the location at which they would meet. Eldridge is a small, rural community of fewer than 200 people about 2 miles from Interstate 22.
Around 12:30 a.m. on June 18, Elisa Mapson bought two pairs of binoculars at a Port Orange, Florida, Walmart, near the campground where she and Tierzah Mapson were staying with the child. About three hours later, Elisa Mapson began driving a white Ford truck toward Eldridge.
Read the allegations against the Mapson sisters in their entirety below.
Prior to her trip, the Mapson sisters had applied black horizontal stripes to the tailgate of the truck to alter its appearance, federal authorities allege.
Though Tierzah Mapson led the child's father to believe, through text messages, that she was traveling to the exchange spot, evidence shows she and the child never left Florida, the indictment says.
Meanwhile, a few minutes into her own drive, Elisa Mapson "texted words of encouragement to Charis Mapson, saying ‘it's just Halo,' an apparent reference to a first-person shooter video game," the court documents say.
Elisa and Tierzah Mapson were also in contact throughout the drive, with Elisa Mapson appearing to keep her sister updated on her progress through Georgia and into Alabama. Tierzah Mapson also texted her sister just after 10 a.m. to say, "Map say about 4 hours and 30 min."
Just after 3 p.m., Tierzah Mapson texted her child's father and told him she'd hit heavy traffic and was running late.
"Right now, it looks like maybe an hour & half or so," she texted, according to court records.
At 4:39 p.m., a white truck was driven into the parking lot of a church about 200 yards from the spot where the custody meeting was to take place, the indictment says. The truck vanished behind the church, where a narrow alley sits between the church and a wooded hillside behind it.
At 5:18 p.m., the child's father texted Tierzah Mapson to see where she was.
"Sorry, a little while longer," she responded, according to authorities. "(The child) got car sick and puked."
About 20 minutes later, the man was shot as he and his wife sat in his truck.
Two minutes after the shots were fired, the white truck reappeared from behind the church and drove away from the scene, the affidavit says.
A little over an hour later, the man texted Tierzah Mapson saying, "Meeting place has changed due to a minor emergency." She responded by saying they had driven past the gas station by accident and that they would exchange custody in Florida as usual, authorities say.
Shortly after 10 p.m., Charis Mapson texted Elisa Mapson one word: "Out."
"Good," Elisa Mapson responded, the documents say.
Authorities allege that Charis and Elisa Mapson used their cellphones about 90 times to either call or text one another the day of the shooting, with a gap in contact from 2:23 p.m. to 7:11 p.m.
Investigators say that Tierzah and Elisa Mapson called and texted one another about 75 times that same day, with a gap in contact from 4:48 p.m. to 6:39 p.m.
The white truck was driven back to Florida the evening of June 18. Sometime between June 18 and June 23, the black stripes were removed from the tailgate, investigators allege.
FBI agents investigating the shooting talked to Tierzah Mapson on June 22, at which time she told them she had driven from Oklahoma to Daytona Beach the day of the shooting. When told that the white Ford had been tracked from Florida to Alabama, she changed her story, alleging she had a stalker.
"(Mapson) asserted that her stalker took the truck from Daytona to Alabama without permission to ‘talk' with (the victim)," the indictment states. "Tierzah Mapson further told agents that she directed (the victim) to the location where he would meet with the stalker."
Elisa Mapson also lied to agents about missing a turn in Alabama and not realizing it until she hit Macon, Georgia, the indictment alleges. She said she and her sister then continued on to Florida.
When confronted with the data investigators had already gathered about the truck's travels, Elisa Mapson said she told a male friend about an alleged threat her niece/nephew's father had made toward the child and that the male friend had said he would shoot the man. She claimed she had loaned the truck to the man so he could carry out his threat.
Charis Mapson told investigators she was at work when the man was shot. She claimed she had not gone to Alabama that summer and had not given her phone to anyone who went to Alabama at that time, the indictment says.
The sisters each face a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison for the charge of firing a weapon in the commission of the crime, court records show. They face up to 10 years in prison on each of the four charges involving interstate domestic violence and stalking and up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge.
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