Tillman’s daughter testifies during fourth day of former pastor’s murder trial

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dispute over a pair of affidavits filed by Alabama and Florida law enforcement officials came during the fourth day of hearings in a former Vincent pastor’s murder trial.

State and defense attorneys clashed over statements given to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2005 and 2007 after Timothy Tillman, former pastor of the Revival Church in Vincent, was charged with the shooting death of his wife, Janet Tillman.

In previous testimony, a defense-called firearms expert suggested Janet Tillman was shot accidently when one of the two shotguns Timothy Tillman was carrying discharged and struck his wife in the back, killing her.

However, state-called witnesses said Timothy Tillman may have intentionally shot Janet Tillman to be with his girlfriend in Florida, Molly.

During the Oct. 22 hearings, Timothy and Janet Tillman’s daughter, Tiffany, testified she was in the house when the shotgun discharged, but did not see the shooting occur.

Tiffany Tillman gave statements to the Vincent Police Department the night of the shooting, and gave another statement to Florida officials after Timothy Tillman was arrested for the crime in early 2007.

In her statements to the police, Tiffany Tillman made no mention of how her father was carrying the pair of shotguns before the shooting, an omission Assistant District Attorney Alan Miller questioned.

Shortly before Tiffany Tillman’s testimony, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Clerk Susan Crumpton revealed the jail intercepted several notes sent from Timothy Tillman to Molly containing statements like “she needs to communicate that I didn’t coach her. I didn’t talk to her too much about the specifics of the accident,” while referring to Tiffany Tillman.

However, Tiffany Tillman during Thursday’s testimony denied adding or omitting anything from her police statements at the request of her father.

“Are those affidavits the truth? Did you make any change to that affidavit based on anything your dad said to you?” defense attorney Erskine Mathis asked Tiffany Tillman.

“They are the truth. Dad was in jail at that time,” Tiffany Tillman responded.

But Miller quickly asked Tiffany Tillman if Molly had looked over the affidavits before returning them to authorities.

“Did Molly look over your affidavit before you mailed it back?” Miller asked Tiffany Tillman.

“Yes, she wrote over it after I got done with it. Mostly just make sure my punctuation and everything was right,” Tiffany Tillman added.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Oct. 23 at 9 a.m.