New information released on Cotton District murder

Austin Montgomery
Staff Writer

Following the fatal shooting of a Mississippi State University student in the early hours of Nov. 6, court documents show three of the four suspects involved in the Maxwell Street shooting confessed to their roles in the incident.

Law enforcement and city officials met Monday afternoon and released new information from the incident, in which Joseph Tillman, 22, of Schlater was shot and killed following his interaction with four individuals near Stagger In.

Based on new evidence, authorities believe Tillman interacted with the four suspects for "several minutes" before the fatal shot was fired, according to SPD Chief Frank Nichols.

"We know Mr. Tillman chased one of the suspects towards Stagger In," Nichols said. "After several yards, Mr. Tillman returned back to the location where the suspects were still standing."

After the shot was fired, the suspect charged with murdering Tillman—Jaylen Malik Barker—ran towards Stagger In, he added.

Brandon Donya Sherrod, 19, Jammario Johnathan Pippens, 22, and Tyler Demond Harris, 16, were all charged with accessory to murder after the fact, court documents show. The charges carry a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Harris—the only minor involved—was released by SPD, and can face criminal proceedings in youth court. If charges are sought, he potentially could face the felony charge in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, according to District Attorney Scott Colom.

The three were charged based on information, belief and confessions of their roles in the incident, according to court documents. Barker faces a maximum of life imprisonment and a $10,000 for the first degree murder charge. Nichols declined to comment on whether or not Barker had confessed to his role in the incident, and court documents show he was charged based on information, belief, suspect statements and witness statements.

The incident was originally reported by SPD as stemming from a robbery, but according to current evidence, there is no indication Barker or the other three suspects assisted in the robbery, Colom said.

"There's been some information released that Mr. Barker and the other three suspects were involved with the robbery," Colom said. "That may be true, and the evidence may lead to that at some point, but I want to be clear to the public. At this point, the evidence does not indicate that these suspects knew about the robbery."

For more, see the Nov. 8 edition.