Jury finds Timothy Tillman guilty of murder

Published 5:12 pm Friday, October 23, 2009

Timothy Tillman stood stiff, silent and motionless Oct. 23 as the jury announced its verdict — guilty as charged.

Nearly four years to the day after 40-year-old Janet Tillman was shot and killed in her house on Carr Drive in Vincent, her husband was convicted of her murder.

“It feels very good. Justice has finally been served,” said Charles Harper, Janet Tillman’s father. “It’s been four years, and we finally have justice.”

A jury of six white men, one black man and five white women found Timothy Tillman, former pastor of the Revival Church in Vincent, guilty of one count of murder and one count of forgery.

The jury’s hour and 45 minutes of deliberation capped off five days of hearings, during which assistant district attorneys Alan Miller and Roger Hepburn convinced the jury Timothy Tillman intentionally shot his wife in the back with a shotgun.

The fatal shooting occurred on Oct. 26, 2005, as Janet Tillman was helping Timothy Tillman carry several shotguns into the couple’s bedroom.

Tillman also was convicted of signing his wife’s name on a $5,000 check months after she died.

Although defense attorney Erskine Mathis attempted to convince the jury Timothy Tillman shot his wife accidently when the shotgun discharged unexpectedly, the jury sided with the prosecution’s depiction of the incident.

The pair of assistant district attorneys told the jury Timothy Tillman killed his wife to collect her life insurance money before he moved to Lake Wales, Fla., to be with his girlfriend, Molly.

Before the jury entered deliberation, Hepburn blasted Timothy Tillman for faking emotion and lying during police interrogations, and accused him of taking many precautions to make the shooting appear accidental.

“He’s a smart man, as much as it hurts to compliment him,” Hepburn said of Timothy Tillman. “During those interrogations, he told you everything about what he wanted you to know.

“One thing that makes me mad about this case is that it has all been about Tim Tillman,” Hepburn added. “And that just feeds his sick ego.”

Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves ordered Timothy Tillman to remain incarcerated in the Shelby County Jail until his sentencing hearing on Dec. 14.