Judge boots Russell Tillis from courtroom during pretrial hearing

Tillis kicked out for talking too loudly; motion to remove lawyer denied


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused of killing a woman and burying her body on his Southside property was tossed from a courtroom Tuesday morning for talking too loudly.

Russell Tillis appeared before Judge Mark Borello for a pretrial hearing Tuesday morning on Tillis' motion to have his attorney, Michael Bossen, kicked off his case.

In the motion, Tillis called Bossen “a fool” who’s going to get him put to death for a crime he did not commit.

Bossen is the eighth lawyer to represent Tillis since his arrest in 2015 on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Tillis is accused of murder in the death of Joni Gunter, whose dismembered remains were found on Tillis' property in 2016, while he was awaiting trial on his initial charges.

Tillis' motion to have Bossen removed from the case was denied, but he also wants a hearing on the competence of co-counsel Nicole Jamieson, who is also representing him.

When the judge was discussing a schedule Tuesday, Tillis interjected, “I think it’s a little late for me to be asking this, but..."

Borello cut him off, saying, “Mr. Tillis, you can have a quiet discussion with your counsel or not but not a loud one.”

Tillis told the judge, “She asked me a question, your honor, and I was answering it.”

At that, Borello motioned for the bailiffs “to take Mr. Tillis in back,” and he was removed from the courtroom. 

The hearing on Tillis’ complaints about Jamieson will be held in the judge’s chambers Friday. Tillis has another hearing Jan. 29. 

Tillis’ much-delayed trial is set for May. It is a death penalty case.