Matthew Bowman shot and killed Jimmy Harold Tillery using an AK-47 clone (above) in 2015. Last week, after a long delay, a jury cleared Mr. Bowman of all charges. Here’s how it went down . . .
Jimmy Tillery and his wife Cheryl separated in 2015. Mrs. Tillery and Matthew Bowman were in a relationship.
On July 20, after an incident where Jimmy Tillery threatened Matthew Bowman and Cheryl Tillery’s lives and the lives of Bowman’s two young children, a judge issued an emergency protective order. On August 6, the court issued another order prohibiting Jimmy Tillery from coming within 150 feet of Cheryl Tillery or within 200 feet of Matthew Bowman’s children.
On August 14, Cheryl Tillery finalized her divorce.
On September 17, Mr. Tillery drove onto the couple’s driveway and demanded to speak with his ex-wife. The couple called 911 and asked the police to intervene. Before they arrived, Mr. Bowman brandished his rifle and ordered Mr. Tillery to leave the property. Mr. Tillery refused, multiple times.
Mr. Bowman’s lawyer gave this defense in court:
Bowman maintains that he had reason to believe Tillery possessed a concealed carry permit and liked to carry a handgun with him at all times.
Luby argued at trial that his client’s decision to shoot was lawful because Tillery was trespassing at the time, had made prior threats to kill Bowman, his ex-wife and himself, and was acting on that day “in a violent, tumultuous manner.”
At some point, Mr. Bowman pulled the trigger, firing four shots at Mr. Tillery who was in the driver’s seat of his car. The police arrived a few minutes later. Mr. Tillery was DOA.
Bowman claimed the shooting was done in self-defense. He refused to plea bargain and took the case to a jury trial. On Friday, almost two years after the incident, a jury found Matthew Bowman not guilty.
It’s worth noting that this shooting was almost certainly reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) as a murder. The FBI UCR doesn’t track the results of trials, only arrests and reports of crime. The FBI justified homicide reports only catch about 20% of justified homicides in the nation.
The FBI categorizes actual murders and non-negligent homicides in the UCR report together in the murder category. About two percent of homicides are recorded in the UCR as justified, so the actual number is about 10 percent.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.