Home where body found in yard to be torn down

Russell Tillis facing murder charge after remains found on Southside


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Southside home where a woman's remains were found buried in the yard last year could be demolished soon.

According to records from the Building Inspector's Office, a demolition permit has been issued for the home on Bowden Circle East, which used to be owned by Russell Tillis. The permit is good for six months.

Tillis, 54, is charged with murder in the death of Joni Lynn Gunter, whose dismembered remains were identified through DNA analysis.

The home, which is just off Bowden Road east of I-95, has been condemned as “unsafe and unfit for human habitation and subject to demolition.”

In addition to murder, Tillis is charged with kidnapping, human trafficking, abuse of a body and evidence tampering. 

He was already awaiting trial on charges of assaulting two police officers at the Southside home when he was charged with Gunter's murder.

Tillis, 54, has been in jail since May 2015, when police said two officers were attacked with knives while serving him with arrest warrants on unrelated charges of threatening a neighbor and violating an injunction.

About nine months later, police searched the home on Bowden Circle East after receiving a tip, and found human remains in the yard that were later identified as Gunter.