SUBMITTED – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the capital murder conviction of Alwin Javon Tillman. Tillman, 37, of Mobile, was convicted in Mobile County Circuit Court in February of 2017 for the murder of Ronnie Minifield.Evidence presented at trial showed that at about 2 a.m. on July 27, 2014, Tillman climbed up to the apartment balcony of his estranged wife, Octavia Tillman, and broke into her apartment by breaking a window to unlock the balcony door. Tillman entered the bedroom, where he saw her with the victim, and he opened fire at both of them. Tillman hit Minifield with four shots, and Minifield died at the scene.
The case was prosecuted at trial by Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich’s office. Tillman was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and he subsequently sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal alleging that he was entitled to a self-defense jury instruction. The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division handled Tillman’s case during the appeals process, arguing for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm the conviction. The Court did so in a decision issued Friday, Feb. 9, holding that Tillman was the initial aggressor and was not entitled to a self-defense jury instruction.
Attorney General Marshall commended Assistant Attorney General Yvonne Saxon of the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division for her successful work in this case.