Douglasville, Ga (WAOK/AJC)-One year and nine months after the death of Bobby Tillman prosecutors and defense attorneys will begin sorting through almost 300 potential Douglas County jurors Monday morning in search of 12 who can decide the fate of one of the four men charged with his death.
Tracen Franklin is the only one of the four initially charged who is expected to go to trial. Franklin could face the death penalty if he is convicted of beating and stomping Tillman to death outside a Douglasville house party in November 2010.
The other three defendants decided to accept a plea deal. In April Emanuel Boykins pleaded guilty to murder and throwing the first punch that set off the frenzy of kicks and blows that killed Tillman. At the age of 20, Boykins was sentenced to life in prison but with a possibility of parole.
The other two — Quantez Devonta Mallory and Horace Damon Coleman — also accepted Douglas County District Attorney David McDade’s offer to plead guilty in exchange for abandoning plans to seek the death penalty. They have not said so, however, in court.
Seating a jury is expected to take at least two weeks.
Bobby Tillman’s mother Monique Rivarde has told the story of her son’s senseless death to listeners of this station, television viewers and legislators in an ongoing effort to get young people to realize bullying is not the way to live.
Rivarde’s efforts have lead to the formation of a group called B-Fam (Bobby’s Family) composed of young people who knew Bobby and many who didn’t. The group regularly holds meetings and have banded together to educate youth and young adults about the affects of teen violence and bullying and help reduce instances of violence amongst teens.
Tillman who was a freshman at Georgia Perimeter College died on November 7, 2010 when about 60 teenagers were standing around after a party being held for two female students from Chapel Hill High School who had earned good grades.
Prosecutors say 9 year old Tracen Franklin, a freshman at Alabama State, was home for the weekend to visit his mother. Bobby Tillman had been invited to the party Franklin and his friends were not invited.
Witnesses to the beating of Tillman told police a few young women got into fights in the front yard and Boykins was slapped by a girl. Boykins was overheard saying that he would not hit a girl but he was going to “pop the next [slur] he saw.” Unfortunately, Bobby Tillman turned out to be that next person.
According to published reports in the AJC, DA McDade said Boykins “sucker-punched” the much smaller Tillman, knocking him to the ground with one punch.
The others joined in, the prosecutor said, with a frenzy of kicks and stomps, leaving Tillman dead in the street.
Bobby Tillman died when a bone broken during the beating sliced his heart.