Tillis will not be representing himself in murder trial; death penalty on the table

The death penalty is on the table for Russell Tillis. He has been charged with the murder of 31-year-old Joni Gunter, a woman whose remains were found on his property.

The death penalty is on the table for Russell Tillis. He has been charged with the murder of 31-year-old Joni Gunter, a woman whose remains were found on his property.

However, at his last court appearance on June 19, Tillis said he wanted to represent himself in the murder case because he was displeased with his council. At the hearing on June 27, he was originally firm in his stance to defend himself, before withdrawing that at the end of the hearing.

Tillis will now be represented by two attorneys.

Now with the death penalty as a possibility, Judge Borello said it is his duty to find Tillis a second attorney to try and fight against the death penalty. Attorney James Boyle has been added to the case.

Tillis would like James Boyle appointed as first chair in his case because he feels that Boyle, unlike his current first chair James Hernandez, has been helpful. He feels that Boyle should be his first chair attorney.

But Judge Borello isn't so sure. The judge said he was unsure whether Boyle had enough experience, unlike Hernandez, in handling cases of this matter and because the death penalty is on the table, it is their responsibility to fight for Tillis' rights as his attorneys. 

It is believed that now Hernandez will handle the death penalty portion of the case and Boyle will handle preparing and the trial. Tillis has agreed to those circumstances. 

The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 1. Jury selection for his aggravated assault case is set for Monday, July 17. 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment