Major 'Orange Is the New Black' Character Receives Life Sentence

Orange Is the New Black’s sixth season saw one key character’s sentence expanding from just a few years to life behind bars.

Spoilers for OITNB season 5 and season 6 are ahead.

While season 5 of the Netflix original series saw Danielle Brooks’ character Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson leading a riot in an effort to get justice for the death of Poussey, season 6 documented the heartbreaking consequences of her actions.

In one of Season 6's most compelling storylines, Taystee is put on trial for the murder of CO Piscatella, who, as fans saw in season 5, managed to break into Litchfield in the midst of the riots only to eventually be shot and killed. However, not only was it not Taystee who pulled the trigger that fired the deadly shot, it was not an inmate at all, but rather rookie officer Natoli.

With her fingerprints on the gun and eyewitness claims that she had at one point pointed the weapon at Picatella when he was bound and held hostage, guilt for the murder falls upon Taystee, and she finds herself heading back to trial facing charges much heavier than the ones that initially landed her behind bars.

Having elected to fight the murder charge in court with the support of the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and Caputo at her back rather than plead guilty to a crime she did not commit, the season ends with Taystee wrongfully being convicted of second-degree murder, a charge that in the state of New York carries a life sentence.

Not all hope is lost for the beloved character, though, as season 6 revealed that Cindy and Suzanne witnessed the CERT team, including Natoli, staging the murder to remove guilt from themselves and instead place the blame on one of the inmates that had been hiding in the pool during the riots.

Although initially reluctant to tell the truth, fearing that angering the CERT team could put both herself and Suzanne in danger, it is possible that Taystee’s conviction will be Cindy or Suzanne’s breaking point and push them to tell the truth. It is also just as likely that Cindy’s anonymous phone call to Caputo telling him to look into the CERT team will be enough for Taystee’s biggest supporter to discover the true story behind Piscatella’s murder.

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For now, fans will have to wait to find out Taystee’s fate and hope that her new label as a guard killer will not paint a target on her back as it has for Daya.

Seasons 1-6 of Orange Is the New Black are available for streaming on Netflix.