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Former Vincent pastor sentenced to life in prison

Published 12:50pm Monday, December 14, 2009

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Reeves sentenced a former Vincent pastor to life in prison on one count of murder during a Dec. 14 sentencing hearing.

Timothy Tillman, the former pastor of the Revival Church in Vincent, will spend the rest of his life in the Alabama Department of Corrections for murdering his wife, Janet, with a shotgun Oct. 26, 2005, at the couple’s house.

Reeves also added an additional 10 years to the life sentence for one count of possession of a forged instrument, a charge which came when a jury found Timothy Tillman signed Janet Tillman’s name to a check after her death.

Reeves also ordered Timothy Tillman to pay $10,000 in restitution to the Alabama Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission, and a $10,000 fine.

The sentencing came after a nearly hour-long hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse, which saw testimony from a few of Timothy and Janet Tillman’s family members, friends and Timothy Tillman himself.

During the hearings, Timothy Tillman, his mother and stepfather asked Reeves to “have mercy” on the convicted murderer, and said the shooting as accidental.

“If I would have thought he did it, I would not have a problem with it,” said Magdalene Sardis, Timothy Tillman’s mother. “I do not want him punished for the rest of his life for an accident he had no control over.”

Timothy Tillman told Reeves he has been living a “broken life” since his wife’s death, and asked the judge to be lenient during the sentencing.

“I regret that she is no longer here. She is no longer here because of a tragic accident,” Timothy Tillman said. “There is nobody who can blame me more than I blame myself.

“My daughters, more than anyone else, are the victims in this. They have lost their mother, and now they are going to lose their father for a murder they know he didn’t commit,” Timothy Tillman added. “I stand here wrongfully charged and wrongfully convicted. I ask for mercy from the court.”

However, Charles Harper, Janet Tillman’s father, blasted Timothy Tillman, saying he should spend the rest of his life in prison.

“I think Tim should never be allowed to walk the streets as a free man again,” Harper said. “He killed our baby daughter, and he has totally wrecked our lives.”

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