Tillis neighbors wanted longer jail time and are disappointed in plea agreement with prosecutors

While Russell Tillis still facing murder and kidnapping charges, the community is upset with the plea agreement.

JACKSONVILLE, Fl -- Russell TiIlis is still in jail, yet his former neighbors say his impact is still being felt in their Southside community.
 
"He knows that he is tormenting us, he loves it, he knows exactly what he's doing. It is not him in jail, he's alright, it is us out here in jail," Dave Eichenlaub said.
 
Eichenlaub lives next door to the Tillis property on East Bowden Circle. He said it has been six years of 'total hell.'
  
Recently, TIllis was facing charges for allegedly attacking JSO officers.
 
In 2015, they were trying to serve warrants. Eichenlaub was a key witness.
 
"That night he he was on my property with the knives, running around," he said.
 
Eichenlaub said as a key witness his life was put on hold as prosecutors built their case.
 
"852 days of torment I had to go through," he said, "I could not see my daughter graduate from college. I had to be in place."
 
He anticipated his testimony against Tillis in court, but his waited ended abruptly with a plea bargain agreement, an agreement he regrets.
 
"The system failed us, greatly, it makes me mad," he said.
 
Tillis plead guilty to a third-degree felony assault on a police officer, trial averted. Eichenlaub feels it cheated his community.
 
"I wanted my day in court. I did not want him back on the streets," he said.
 
Tillis was sentenced to the time served since his arrest, not the 15-30 years his neighbors expected.
 
The community is aware that their former neighbor is still awaiting trial on kidnapping and murder charges, but some say their confidence in a conviction is shaken
 
"How about a technicality and he walks out again," Eichenlaub said, "We don't know."
 
The plea agreement has shaken their confidence in the Judicial system.
 
"You didn't get your day in court, you didn't get satisfaction, you didn't get closure," Eichenlaub said, "It is just terrible."
 
On Your Side reached out to the State's Attorney's office for response.  Communications Director David Chapman provided the following statement:
 
"Our office has filed a notice seeking the death penalty in Mr. Tillis’ first-degree murder case and he remains incarcerated without bond. As for the battery case, Mr. Tillis pleaded guilty and served more than two years for the crime. The outcome included the support of the law enforcement victims, and the facts and evidence are available to the public now that it is resolved. Both the conviction and the sentence reflect a just resolution of that offense and allows our office to focus the necessary time and resources on the capital case ahead."

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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