Little Miss Murder 

A Livermore love triangle. A jealous teen sociopath. A cold-blooded plot. And one of the most chilling crime tales the East Bay has ever seen.

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With blood still streaming down her face, Jenna Nannetti got in her car and took off. In the seat beside her was Mike, who offered to pay for the gas before they drove to find Katie. This too was part of the trio's grim orchestration, according to Jeff Hamilton's videotaped interview with detectives from the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department. The plan, according to statements by all three suspects, was to drive Jenna out to the remote stretch of land in San Joaquin County known as Whiskey Slough, shoot her, and then torch her car to get rid of any traces of blood from her head wound or any other evidence that might be left. A full tank of gas, they reasoned, would help incinerate the car faster once it was lit with the road flare they would bring along.

It took a couple of weeks of planning to come up with their murder plot, Katie and Mike confessed. Lots of ideas were tossed around and Katie made sure her cohorts understood that although she was a girl and just seventeen she was tough enough for the job.

"I was trying to act like a really badass, like I could do this. I could cut her up into little pieces," Katie told homicide investigators in a chipper voice, as if discussing a high-school science project. "Jeff wanted to shave her head so it'd be harder to recognize her. We were going to do all that in the middle of a field so when they came to mow everything, they'd mow up the body. That was the original plan."

Jeff, who was included in the scheme largely because he had a car and could drive the pair home after they set the Mustang ablaze, had never met Jenna until the night he helped kill her, he told the detectives.

The drive to Whiskey Slough from Livermore took about forty minutes, a straight shot east into rural San Joaquin County, a vast agricultural expanse studded with irrigation levees, meandering creeks, and fields of corn, asparagus, tomato, and alfalfa. Mike Simons had gone shooting in the slough a few times before and had even taken Katie up there.

The night of October 6, Katie and Jeff navigated the back roads in his white Dodge Neon all the way to the remote delta. They pulled over on the rough dirt road where the trio had arranged to meet, then turned off the engine and sat quietly, waiting for Mike and Jenna to arrive. It was a cool, windless evening.

When the Mustang pulled up on an isolated service road some twenty minutes later, Jenna grabbed the keys and got out to wait for her rival. Unbeknown to the teenager, her fate lay just up a grassy embankment on a parallel road where the white Neon was parked. Mike, clad in his trademark green Army fatigues, ambled casually up the berm to where Katie and Jeff were waiting. Through the window, Katie later recalled, she handed him the twelve-gauge pump-action Remington shotgun she'd stolen months earlier from a neighbor's house.

"He went back down and shined the light on her," Katie told detectives. Then he set the light down on the ground and aimed. "He took one shot but I didn't see it," she said. Jeff claimed he witnessed a bit more. "She had her back to him," he recalled. "Mike called out her name and she turned around ... I saw the muzzle flash."

Moments later, Katie and Jeff told the cops, another shot rang out. They could hear Jenna pleading for her life. "'Mike, please don't. I still love you," she allegedly cried. Katie added another chilling detail: "He said, 'If I let you go, you're going to tell, aren't you?' She said she wouldn't, but he didn't believe her."

Then, according to Katie's account, Mike scrambled up the embankment once again, this time to reload the shotgun. "She's not dead yet," he said as he arrived at the waiting car. The others were stunned. "We were like, 'What?'" Katie said. "If she's not dead now, she might not die, or it will take like a half-hour for her to die."

It was in that moment, Katie claimed, that she had an empathetic moment for Jenna. "I was just worried about her living through this," she told the cops. "I don't like when people suffer, even if it's over a boyfriend. It bothers me."

Mike reloaded the shotgun with extra ammo he'd brought in his nylon bag, which he'd picked up at a Livermore Army recruiting station where he'd gone to enlist, Katie and Jeff separately told the detectives. It was black with yellow letters spelling out "Army of One."

The others said they followed behind as Mike made his way back down to Jenna, who was wounded and bleeding. She was lying on the ground, Jeff said. Mike "shot her twice and she still screamed, so he shot her three more times." Then, Katie told detectives, he "aimed the sixth shot right at her heart."

As Jenna lay dying, she made an awful "gurgling" sound like "she had water or blood in her lungs. ... It was the scariest sound I ever heard," Katie recalled. "I stepped back, and Jeff jumped back like somebody put a Pop Rock in front of him."

At the time, Jeff was taking Jenna's pulse to make sure she was dead. "She kind of took a breath in and it scared the hell out of me," he confessed with a lighthearted chuckle. "I kinda like, dropped her wrist and fell back. They started laughing about it." Finally, Katie recalled nonchalantly, "We all stood and looked at her for a second and noticed she was dead and wasn't moving any more."

When detectives asked Jeff to describe Jenna's corpse, he said, "Her chest just like blown open, just bloody. Her eyes were still open."

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