JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The homicide trial for Russell Tillis, the person accused of killing a girl and burying her dismembered physique, will begin Monday, after years of being delayed.
Russell Tillis was arrested on March 18, 2015 at his dwelling for 2 excellent misdemeanor warrants. He violently resisted arrest in line with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Workplace, and was in jail awaiting trial on fees of aggravated assault and easy battery on a regulation enforcement officer.
On Feb. 5, 2016, an inmate contacted detectives and stated Tillis confessed to killing a girl in his home, dismembering her physique and burying her within the yard.
Authorities obtained a warrant and served it on Feb. 10, 2016. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Workplace discovered human stays at his ”booby-trapped” Southside dwelling on Bowden Circle East after following up on the tip, the subsequent day.
Police later recognized the physique as Joni Gunter, by means of DNA testing by the College of North Texas. The health worker stated she died of blunt drive trauma.
Gunter was a transient who was identified to frequent the Southside space. It’s believed that she died between February 2014 and Might 2015, police stated, and was about 30 years outdated.
In December of 2016, Tillis was charged with homicide.
HOUSE OF HORRORS AND THE SEARCH FOR MORE POTENTIAL VICTIMS
Neighbors of Tillis dubbed his Southside residence as a “Home of Horrors.”
“Individuals had been petrified of him. He’d throw issues at folks, is what I heard. (He’s a) pure imply, evil particular person (who) ought to have been locked up a very long time in the past,” neighbor Brenda Smith stated on the time.
When officers initially tried to serve Tillis the lively warrants at his dwelling, police stated Tillis ran away from them and led them by means of an space the place he had positioned boards with 4-inch nails going through upward.
Following his arrest on the homicide cost, JSO introduced that he focused weak younger ladies with a historical past of prostitution or medicine.
“We imagine it’s extremely possible that different females had been victimized by Tillis, together with probably different murders,” JSO’s assistant chief stated throughout a information convention.
Investigators searched his dwelling once more shortly after Gunter’s physique was discovered for different our bodies. None had been discovered.
Jury choice will start on Monday, April, 5. Tillis faces the next fees in connection to Gunter’s demise:
- First-degree homicide
- Human trafficking
- Abuse of a human physique
- Proof tampering
Tillis is representing himself within the case and the demise penalty is on the road.
Motion Information Jax’s Bridgette Matter and Robert Grant shall be contained in the courthouse to cowl the trial as Tillis questions potential jurors.
Watch FOX30 and CBS47 for stay updates on the case.