On February 2, 2008 6-month old Jean Pierre Tillman (called J.P. by his family) was murdered by his 22-yr old father Gregory Tillman. The baby's parents had an argument earlier in the morning in which mom was assaulted by dad. She left J.P. in the care of his father when she went out to the flea market. The defendant called her and told her that if she didn't come home, he was going to send J.P. to the hospital. Jury selection, opening arguments and testimony by J.P.'s mother and aunt occurred yesterday.
This morning we heard from law enforcement and the medical examiner. Tillman claimed at the time that he and the baby were in the shower and he accidentally dropped him. Testimony revealed that there was a heartbeat, but no brain function. J.P.'s left leg and skull were fractured. There were approximately 10 blows to his head. The cause of death was a combination of the blows and drowning. There was additional evidence presented of an old burn injury near J.P.'s anus for which no medical treatment was sought because DCF would then be notified.
Yesterday during jury selection CourtWatch notified the Sentinel and the Newsdesks at all the TV stations in Orlando of this case. Yet nobody is here today. Everyone seems to be slogging through more Casey Anthony discovery material. Caylee's death is tragic - no doubt about it. But so is little J.P.'s death. This case doesn't have the drama that the Anthony family has provided. But it has a grieving mom who could use the support of the community. Why, in spite of our efforts to alert them to this case, has the media not cared to cover the trial? Could it be because the victim wasn't a cute little white toddler and was black/hispanic instead? Does that make J.P.'s life less valuable than Caylee's? Or are we more interested in cases where mom is the perpetrator instead of dad?
Kudos to the prosecutor, Robin Wilkinson and the victim advocate (whose name I don't know yet), for the job they're doing. Thank you for caring.