Life in jail penalty for Wallace homicide

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 2, 2010



LAPLACE – A Napoleonville man charged with stabbing and killing his girlfriend nearly a year ago was sentenced to life in prison Monday, according to a release from St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Tom Daley.

Anthony Henry Tillman, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the killing of 33-year-old Saneria Michelle Johnson of Wallace. Daley said District Court Judge Sterling Snowdy handed down the lifetime prison sentence immediately following Tillman’s plea. He said Tillman will serve his sentence without parole, probation or suspension of any part of the sentence.

Daley said a grand jury had originally handed down an indictment in May in which Tillman was charged with the second-degree murder of Johnson, as well as the first-degree feticide of Johnson’s unborn child. As part of the plea agreement with prosecutors, Daley said his office agreed to dismiss the first-degree feticide charge.

According to a release with the St. John Sheriff’s Office, on Oct. 11, 2009, Johnson was found inside her home with multiple stab wounds inside her West Fourth Street home by a friend who went to check on her.

When deputies arrived at the home, they discovered that some of the contents of the home were in disarray, which led them to believe a struggle took place. Johnson’s car was also missing from the home and reported stolen in a national crime database.

Authorities later spotted Johnson’s car in Napoleonville, about 40 miles from the crime scene, with Tillman behind the wheel. Tillman led police on a car chase through Assumption and Terrebonne parishes.

The car was abandoned and found stuck in mud not long after the car chase, and Terrebonne Parish deputies located and arrested Tillman later that day in Gibson.

The report from police said the couple, who had been dating for 15 years, had separated in the past but had been together in the weeks leading up to the stabbing. When deputies arrived at the home, however, they found packed bags near the door of the home that contained some of Johnson’s personal belongings, which may have indicated she was planning to leave.

The release said Tillman had previously been arrested in Houston in August 2006 for battery against Johnson. Tillman also has a series of prior arrests in the Assumption and Terrebonne Parish areas.

Daley said three of Johnson’s relatives spoke on her behalf prior to the sentencing. All three described her as a “lovely and wonderful person,” whose life was tragically taken.