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Russell Tillis' 12th lawyer is on the case

Judge denies Tillis' motion to have lead attorney Chuck Fletcher removed

Attorney Donald Mairs (pictured left), attorney Chuck Fletcher (center) and Russell Tillis (right) appear in court Thursday morning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man charged with kidnapping, killing and burying a woman in the yard of his Southside home once again has another attorney on his case.

A judge appointed Donald Mairs as the 12th lawyer for Russell Tillis, who is accused in the murder of Joni Gunter, whose remains were found in his yard in 2016.

John Rockwell, a former assistant state attorney who prosecuted Tillis in 2007 on a prostitution charge, was appointed as Tillis' 11th defense lawyer on April 1. Judge Mark Borello granted a motion Friday for Rockwell, who was the second chair, to withdraw from the case.

Attorney Chuck Fletcher is still Tillis’ lead defense lawyer. Tillis filed a Nelson motion, saying he wanted Fletcher removed from the case. He addressed complaints about Fletcher, saying Fletcher's ongoing “I don’t care” mentality is unacceptable. 

When Tillis appeared in court Thursday morning with Mairs, Borello denied Tillis' motion to have Fletcher removed.

Prosecutors contend Tillis is gaming the system to delay justice.

The next pretrial hearing is in two weeks.


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Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.