Reeves and Coffman, two twelve-year-old girls, decided to kill their homeroom teacher, Geiger, with rat poison and then steal her car and run away. On her way to school to carry this plan out, Coffman showed her packet of rat poison to a girl on the bus however who informed Geiger of the plan. When Geiger entered her classroom, she saw the girls leaning over her desk. The girls giggled and ran back to their seats without poisoning Geiger's drink, but Coffman left her purse with the rat poison in it on the desk next to Geiger's coffee cup.
Reeves and Coffman were found to be delinquent based on the jury's finding that they had attempted to commit second degree murder.
The Tennessee statute is based on the Model Penal Code, which explicitly says that such possession constitutes a substantial step to commit a crime. While the Tennessee legislature did not include these examples in its statute, it did not indicate that it intended to retain the common law distinction between "mere preparation" and the "act itself." To require the act itself to be committed would endanger the public and undermine the preventative goal of attempt law. The defendants may not have been able to have been stopped if they had already poisoned Geiger's coffee.