A friend of a woman killed by a Springfield man is upset the woman who helped hide her friend’s body in a field will not go to prison.
Hannah Whitman, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and one count of gross abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony.
Whitman was present when Springfield killer Prentiss Hare lured Tiffany Chambers into an alley where he killed her in 2015. Whitman then helped Hare hide the Jacksonville woman’s body.
Chamber’s remains were found in a field in Greene County in 2016 and Whitman was arrested in early 2017. Hare pleaded guilty to murder in the case. It was the second time he was convicted of murder.
“There are no words to explain my state of mind or why I did what I did,” Whitman said during sentencing.
She faced a maximum of four years in prison, but Clark County Common Pleas Judge Richard O’Neill sentenced her to five years of community control after a hearing where her attorney argued she didn’t deserve prison time.
Danielle Abdullah, a longtime friend of Chambers, told the Springfield News-Sun she is upset that Whitman won’t go to prison.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Abdullah said. “I think she is just as responsible as Prentiss Hare is.”
Whitman told the court that she should have gone to law enforcement sooner and she couldn’t explain her actions.
“My greatest regret is not going straight to the police,” Whitman said.
“There are things that I could have done that I should have done and I will always regret that,” she said. “I didn’t do what I should have done.”
Whitman told the court that she is a different person now than she was in 2015.
“I have changed so much,” she said. “I never tried to change before. Since this all happened I have been on a path upwards for the first time in a long time and I would ask the court to allow me to stay on this path.”
Abdullah said she doesn’t believe Whitman when she says she regrets not doing more and the reason she decided to help police was that she had no other choice.
“She is not sorry to us, she is sorry she got caught,” Abdullah said. “She is not sorry for Tiffany. She sat there and watched Tiffany get beat to death.”
Months went by without Whitman contacting the police, Abdullah said. When Tiffany was found law enforcement asked anyone with information about the corpse to come forward to police and Abdullah said she didn’t.
“You had time to call the police,” she said “Her bones were scattered by animals. We found bones. They knew where she was the whole time.”
Another man, Carmelo Rivera, is charged with tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in the case as well. The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on the sentence Friday afternoon because his case is still open.