‘He scared me’: Brother of Russell Tillis, man accused of killing, burying woman in backyard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We are hearing from the brother of Russell Tillis, the man accused of killing a local woman and burying her in his backyard.

Claude Tillis expressed disbelief as he learned about the gruesome discovery in his brother’s backyard. The interview is a part of newly released evidence in the case against Russell Tillis. Tillis is accused of murdering Joni Gunter. Her dismembered body was found buried in the backyard of his Southside home in 2016.

In an hour and a half interview with detectives, Claude Tillis told detectives he was scared of his own brother.

“I stayed away from him. He scared me. There’s no telling what the hell he will do. He made a statement one time that he’s done prison time, and he has nothing to lose, and he could care less,” Claude Tillis said.

Investigators found a number of items in the backyard in what neighbors said was a “House of Horrors.”

New pictures show what appeared to be a hair tie in the dirt, bones, women’s underwear, and blades in trees. Court documents also revealed during a conversation between Russell Tillis and an inmate, Russell admitted police would find something on his property.

“Once they go over there and start plowing around on that property they are going to find something anyway,” said Tillis.

Tillis’ trial has been pushed back to May after his lawyer asked for more time to prepare.