Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 3, 2013

Best pleads guilty in Tennant murder case

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT -- A Buffalo teen, accused of helping to dispose of the body of a murdered 5-year-old girl in Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty to a pair of charges in Niagara County Court Friday afternoon.

In a short proceeding, Tyler Best, 19, admitted that he helped his friend, John Freeman Jr., get rid of the body of Isabella Tennant by hiding it in a garbage tote. 

In return for his plea to charges of first-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Best he would sentence him to no more than 16 months to four years in prison.

Best could have faced a maximum prison term of seven years for his conviction.

Neither prosecutors nor Best’s defense attorney could speak to reporters after the hearing because of a court imposed gag order in the case. 

Freeman, 17, has also pleaded guilty in the case. On July 3, he entered his plea to a charge of second-degree murder.  

He faces a minimum of between 20 and 22 years behind bars and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced.

Police and prosecutors always maintained that Freeman was the killer of the little girl and that Best’s only role in the incident was to help dispose of the body. Investigators said Best led them to Tennant’s body after he showed up at police headquarters, appearing shaken and remorseful, on the morning of Aug. 26.

Detectives said they might never have found Tennant’s body without Best’s cooperation in the case.

Best came to Falls police headquarters several hours after officers had begun a desperate hunt for Tennant. The little girl had been reported missing from her great-grandmother’s home in the 400 block of Sixth Street.

The great-grandmother said the little girl had disappeared overnight and had last been seen with Freeman. Freeman, who was 16 at the time, was described as a “close family friend.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results