Tia Skinner, Jonathan Kurtz: ‘Blood Relatives’ ‘Deadly Education’ Based On Yale, Michigan Mara, Paul Skinner Murder Case


The Tia Skinner, Jonathan Kurtz, and James Preston, Yale, Michigan murder case will air on tonight’s Blood Relatives on Investigation Discovery. The documentary series will recount the tragedy involving adoptive parents Mara Skinner (Mara McCalmon) and Paul Skinner in their home seven years ago. Tia Skinner was so in love with her boyfriend, Jonathan Kurtz, that she masterminded an evil plan to get rid of them. Authorities say Jonathan Kurtz and his acquaintance, James Preston, entered the family home late one night and ambushed Tia’s parents while they slept.


Blood Relatives episode “Deadly Education”

The peaceful facade of a family is shattered when passion and treachery ignite between an honor student and the town’s bad boy.


Tia Skinner’s Deadly Plan

Investigators were dispatched to a Yale, Michigan, home in November of 2010, where they found the body of Paul Skinner and his wife, Mara Skinner. Mara was still clinging to life. However, Paul Skinner had already expired. Both victims had multiple puncture wounds to the body.


From THE (Times Herald Edition) 2/23 – Tia Skinner Must Be Re-Sentanced For Murder Conviction…..A former Yale…

Posted by Paul R Murray on Saturday, February 23, 2013


Law enforcement detectives were met by Jeffrey Skinner, who told them someone entered the home and assaulted his parents. When detectives spoke with the couple’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Tia Skinner, she seemed unconcerned. It didn’t take long for police to put the clues together after they found a hand-drawn map of the home’s layout with the words “My house” written on the drawing.


Tia Skinner finally admitted her involvement, but she quickly pointed to Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston as the killers. According to Tia’s statements, she had recently changed her mind about going through with the plan to kill her parents. Although police later discovered she had offered to pay $1,000 of her scholarship money to pay Jonathan Kurtz to do it.


Paul and Maura Skinner, Tia Skinner’s aunt and uncle, provided her with a beautiful life. They adopted her when she was just three-years-old. Tia Skinner’s real mother was incarcerated, and her father died a few years later.

When Tia Skinner’s mother gave birth to her in prison, her father tried to raise her. However, his unstable and chaotic life didn’t offer her a good upbringing. The Skinners had no problems┬áblending Tia Skinner into their loving family with their own children.


Growing up with this loving family meant Tia Skinner enjoyed many family vacations and fun-nights-out with the family. In school, Tia Skinner was smart. In fact, she was an honor student.


Mara McCalmon knows the scars you can't see are often the most painful."I know mine is only six and a half years ago…

Posted by Michele Hirschfield on Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Things changed when Tia Skinner saw Jonathan Kurtz at her church’s youth group one night. She first met Jonathan Kurtz in school, but after he dropped out and moved away, they lost contact. She had a crush on him back in those days. Seeing him again, made her fall in love with him all over again.


The newly rekindled relationship blossomed quickly. This time Jonathan Kurtz was really into Tia Skinner. He sent her text messages, telling her how much he loved her. However, when her mother, Mara Skinner, found out that her new boyfriend was Jonathan Kurtz, she immediately forbade the relationship.


Mara Skinner knew Jonathan Kurtz well. She taught him in middle school and knew his family history. The bad boy had a problem with substance abuse, and he was mentally unstable. Tia Skinner had come from such a good family. Mara didn’t want Tia to become involved with someone who was only going to come in and disrupt her life. Sadly, Mara Skinner was right, and the reality of how it would all turn out was more frightening than she could have imagined.


Tia Skinner cries as she watches a video of her father, Paul, made by her family shown during the sentencing in Judge…

Posted by Murderpedia on Monday, July 15, 2013


Jonathan Kurtz and Tia Skinner began plotting how the murder would take place just two weeks after they reunited. Tia decided that she’d wait downstairs and watch a movie while Jonathan Kurtz and James Preston entered their parents’ bedroom.


Their plan was almost foiled when Paul Skinner returned from his out-of-town job one day earlier. The unexpected arrival of Tia’s brother, Jeffrey Skinner, also threatened to ruin their plan. To save her brother’s life. Tia Skinner lured him downstairs to watch a movie with her. However, when Jeffrey heard the commotion, he ran upstairs and found his father stumbling around the house. Paul Skinner fell to the ground and died in his son’s arms.



Mara Skinner was still in bed struggling to stay alive. During the terrifying ordeal, Jeffrey Skinner was calling out to Tia Skinner to come and help. She never did. She sat downstairs and stared straight ahead as she listened to her family’s cries.


For the murder of Paul Skinner and the attempted murder of Mara Skinner, James Preston, Tia Skinner, and Jonathan Kurtz received life in prison.


In Tia Skinner’s case, small-town love was a powerful thing. Watch her story when it airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Blood Relatives on Investigation Discovery.



[Main Image via Michigan Dept. of Corrections]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.