Prosecutors to use statements from jail informant in Russell Tillis case

Man charged with kidnapping & murder of Joni Gunter


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Prosecutors intend to present statements from a jailhouse informant in a high profile murder case when it goes to trial.

According to a motion filed Monday by attorneys for Russell Tillis, the State Attorney’s Office has statements made by Tillis that were recorded by a device used by Sammie Evans. In 2017, Evans pleaded guilty to attempted robbery charges, and is still awaiting sentencing.

In the motion, the defense says prosecutors agreed to waive the minimum mandatory sentence for Evans, who still has other felony charges pending. The defense wants the trial judge to compel the prosecution to tell the jury what deal it made with Evans in return for his cooperation.

Tillis is charged with the kidnapping and murder of Joni Gunter, whose dismembered remains were found buried in Tillis’ backyard.

The case was scheduled to trial in May, but it was continued when another defense lawyer withdrew from the case. Tillis is now on his 10th and 11th attorneys.