New York woman reindicted for murder

Published 4:23 pm Friday, May 2, 2008

A New York woman has been reindicted on a charge of murder in the 2003 death of her child.

Tina Funderburk is accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter, Reina Russell, in June 2003 and leaving the child’s body in a wooded, swampy area near an old Greyhound bus terminal in Jackson. She was passing through with her daughter and son on a bus trip from New York.

Funderburk had claimed that she lost her way when she went back to get the child. Authorities later found the child’s remains.

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No trial date has been set.

Funderburk was indicted for manslaughter in 2004. The case never came to trial.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, who took office in January, said the decision to get a new indictment came after he re-evaluated the case.

Smith said he would ask a judge to dismiss the first indictment.

If convicted of murder, Funderburk faces life in prison. She faced a maximum of 20 years if convicted of manslaughter.

Assistant Public Defender Matthew Eichelberger is challenging the autopsy report done by state pathologist Steven Hayne stating the cause of death was consistent with suffocation and the manner of death was a homicide.

In March, Eichelberger filed a lawsuit asking for a review of the autopsy findings in the child’s death.