Russell Tillis wants to get rid of 11th lawyer

Tillis charged with kidnapping, murder of Joni Gunter

Russell Tillis appears in court on Tuesday, April 30.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Russell Tillis, the man charged with kidnapping, killing and burying a woman in the yard of his Southside home, to complain to the judge about his 11th lawyer.

John Rockwell was appointed to Tillis’ defense April 1. Rockwell is a former assistant state attorney who prosecuted Tillis in 2007 on a prostitution charge. Tillis pleaded guilty and served two days in jail.

When Rockwell was appointed in April, Tillis was made aware of that potential conflict, but told the judge he had no problems with Rockwell and signed a waiver.

Now, Tillis has written the judge, saying he didn’t fully understand the waiver and asking that Rockwell be removed.

Tillis is awaiting trial in the murder and dismemberment of Joni Gunter, whose remains were found buried in Tillis’ backyard in 2016. The trial has been postponed repeatedly, as Tillis has complained about his many lawyers.

Chuck Fletcher is his lead defense lawyer.

Prosecutors contend Tillis is gaming the system to delay justice.