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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Suspect guilty in rape, not killing

February 27, 2004

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— A Leavenworth man has been found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl nine years ago, but innocent in her death.

A Leavenworth County jury deliberated about three hours Wednesday before finding Marshall Tillman, 51, of Leavenworth, guilty of raping Jasmine Watkins, who was found dead in her Leavenworth home on Jan. 14, 1995.

Michael Gibbens, assistant county attorney for Leavenworth County, said prosecutors had a lot of DNA evidence to support the rape charge, but not enough for the murder charge.

"Of course we are disappointed," Gibbens said. "However, we knew going in that it was going to be tough linking her death with the rape."

The case took nine years to prosecute because defense attorneys asked several times for the court to rule on Tillman's competency to stand trial. He has been sent numerous times to the Larned State Security Hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Tillman's attorney, KiAnn Caprice Dodd-McBratney, of Kansas City, Kan., said she would ask for a new trial. If that is denied, she will seek an appeal.

If the conviction stands, Gibbens said, Tillman could receive a sentence of as long as 10 years and two months in prison. However, Tillman could be credited for the nine years he already has served while awaiting trial.

Tillman is serving six years and one month on an unrelated rape conviction. He pleaded no contest in December 2001 to raping a woman in 1994.

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