Judge orders mental competency evaluation for Russell Tillis

Tillis is charged with kidnapping & dismembering woman whose remains were found buried in the yard of his home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been discussed in open court for more than a year, and on Friday, News4Jax learned the judge in Russell Tillis’ murder case has ordered a mental competency evaluation.

Tillis is charged in the kidnapping, murder and dismemberment of Joni Gunter, 30. Police said the woman’s remains were found in the yard of his Southside home in 2016, while Tillis was in jail on unrelated charges.

RELATED: Russell Tillis admits killing, dismembering captive women in jailhouse confession

The case has bogged down in court since then, as Tillis has filed continuous motions on his own, complaining about his lawyers. The two attorneys assigned to the case are the 11th and 12th.

Tillis has tried several times without success to have Judge Mark Borello recused from the case.

The trial was set to begin in May, but it was a case that was put on indefinite hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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