• Man in 'House of Horrors' killing pleads guilty of battery to officer

    By: Action News Jax


    The Jacksonville man at the center of the "House of Horrors" murder pleaded guilty to battery on a law enforcement officer when he appeared in court Friday. 

    Russell Tillis appeared in court with his attorney, James Boyle, for a motion to dismiss hearing for his battery on a law enforcement case.

    In 2015, Tillis was arrested for assault on an officer after multiple officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff Office tried to arrest him on his booby trapped property. 

    Jacksonville Sheriff's Office officials said investigators discovered Gunter's mutilated body on Tillis’ property.

    Tillis is accused of killing and dismembering the body of Joni Gunter at his home in Southside Jacksonville in 2015.

    Action News Jax obtained video of officers chasing Tillis at his home in May 2015.

    Police said Tillis was holding two knives in his hands when officers chased him while trying to serve an arrest warrant.

    On July 19, a judge declared a mistrial, citing a discovery violation.

    Officials said Tillis' time has been served for that charge since he's been in a jail for two years.  

    Two other charges were dropped in his case, officials said. 

    Tillis has a pending murder charge and faces the death penalty if he is convicted in Gunther's case.

    His pretrial date is set for Dec. 4.

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