Russell Tillis waives right to speedy trial

Next pretrial hearing April 3


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Russell Tillis, the man accused of killing, dismembering and burying a young woman in the yard of his Southside home, was in court Wednesday to plead not guilty to separate, amended charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Tillis also waived his right to a speedy trial on the murder charge, but his trial on the assault charge is scheduled for April 10.

Tillis had been in jail for months on the 2015 assault charge when police got a tip that he buried a young woman in his yard. After days of searching his home on Bowden Circle East and digging up his yard, police found human remains. Last year, the medical examiner identified the remains as those of Joni Gunter and found she died of blunt trauma.

Neighbors along Bowden Circle said they saw women coming and going from Tillis' home before he was arrested in 2014. One neighbor recalled women coming to her front door screaming that Tillis was going to kill them.

Police have said they were investigating to see if there could be other victims.

The house is under new ownership and is in the process of being torn down. Neighbors hope it will go quickly as it is unsightly and a reminder of the horror that took place there.

Tillis' trial on the murder charge has not been scheduled.