Convicted felon kills landlord over $30 rent increase, police say

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:06 PM

Police: Convicted Felon Killed Landlord over $30 Rent Increase

A Wisconsin man is accused of shooting his landlord in the back of the head over a $30 rent increase, rolling the elderly man’s body in a blanket and stashing it in a garage before visiting his probation officer and going out for drinks, police said.

Jason Christopher Tilley, 37, of Cudahy, was arrested Sunday on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bail was set at $750,000, but he is also being held in the Milwaukee County Jail on a probation hold, jail records show

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the 70-year-old victim’s wife called Greenfield police on March 1 when he failed to return home from a meeting with a tenant at his rental property in Cudahy. Fox 6 News reported that the woman identified the tenant as a man named Jason.

When an officer went to Tilley’s apartment to talk to him, he was not home, the news station reported. The officer noticed what appeared to be blood on the door and door frame of the unit, according to a criminal complaint.  

Two officers returned to the building the next day, at which point they looked in the garage and “observed what appeared to be a pool of blood that led to a large blanket rolled up against the wall,” Fox 6 reported

The victim’s body was found rolled up in the blanket, officials said.

This apartment building in Cudahy, Wis., shown in a Google Street View image captured in October 2017, was the scene of a March 1, 2018, shooting that killed the 70-year-old landlord. Tenant Jason Christopher Tilley, 37, is accused of shooting the landlord after learning his rent was being increased by $30. Police said that Tilley, a convicted felon, killed the victim in the garage pictured behind the building and wrapped the man's body in a blanket before visiting his probation officer and going out for drinks.((Google))

His autopsy showed the victim died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the Journal Sentinel reported

Police officials said the landlord’s daughter reported finding her father’s car abandoned in a parking lot about seven miles from the apartment building. The criminal complaint stated that surveillance footage from the area showed a man parking the car, getting out and catching a bus nearby.

The Journal Sentinel reported that a police officer identified the man in the footage as Tilley.

When questioned by detectives, Tilley said he paid his landlord $560 in cash for his rent, but became upset when he was told the rent was being increased to $590. Though he initially denied any confrontation, he ultimately admitted to the shooting, police said. 

He told investigators he had a handgun in the pocket of his hoodie when they went into the garage while discussing the rent. Tilley told investigators “while they were talking, the victim turned away from him and that when he did, Tilley took out the gun and shot the victim,” Fox 6 reported

Tilley said he took cash from the landlord’s pocket, along with his car keys, the Journal Sentinel reported. He then hid the man’s body before taking the car and abandoning it where the victim’s daughter later spotted it. 

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Before heading to his probation officer’s office, Tilley went to Walmart and bought new clothes, leaving his old ones behind, the complaint stated. After leaving his probation appointment -- where he had to give a urine sample -- he went to a bar.

Tilley said he “had some beers and shots, went home and then got up and went to work the next day,” Fox 6 reported

Tilley was arrested at his job at the Patrick Cudahy meat packing plant.

WISN in Milwaukee reported that Tilley faces life in prison if convicted of murder and 10 years if convicted of the weapons charge. Wisconsin court records show an extensive criminal history for Tilley, who has previously faced charges including robbery, battery, burglary, cocaine possession and driving with a revoked license.

All those cases, stemming from 1998 to 2011, are listed as closed. Most of them ended with felony convictions. 

A 2018 case filed on Valentine’s Day involves harassment and a restraining order, the court records show. That case, originating in nearby Kenosha County, lists the Cudahy crime scene as Tilley’s address. 

Tilley was issued an injunction in the case, though details of the injunction were not available. 

The landlord’s slaying marks the first homicide investigation in Cudahy since 2016, WTMJ-TV reported.

Residents of the building where the homicide took place expressed shock over their landlord’s death.

“He was such a nice guy, he really was,” resident Leo Trudeau told the news station. “He was a decent human being.”

Sharon Cebula said she saw the victim outside the building shortly before he was killed. 

“I seen him, the landlord, that afternoon and then later I went to go pick up my son, and the landlord’s car was there and the garage door was open,” Cebula said. “When I came home an hour later, that car was gone and the garage door was closed.” 

Cebula said that Tilley, who lived in the apartment above hers, was behind on his rent, and another tenant -- who declined to be named -- said Tilley had an eviction notice posted on his door. 

Still, those who lived around him did not anticipate their neighbor being capable of killing someone.

“If he did do it, I think he deserves the full max of punishment,” Cebula said

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Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 7:53 AM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, Texas, remembered him as a kind young man and a talented musician.

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Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet.

Mason’s Facebook page shows that he was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in local music programs such as the Austin Youth Orchestra, where he was the principal double bass player, and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves, where he was also the principal bassist.

“He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around,” said his friend, Kylie Phillips. “He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. … I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died.”

Another friend from school, Stephanie Lucio, remembered him as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”

“As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery,” Lucio said. “She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”

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Former Austin Council Member Mike Martinez said he had met Mason and re-posted on Facebook a photo of them together.

“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”

Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said Tuesday.

The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster, offered his condolences, calling Mason a “most remarkable talent” who had the “chops to study music in college.”

“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school … He carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” Dempster said. “The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak.”

Some of Mason’s teachers grieved for him on social media, describing him as a remarkable student.

Sam Osemene, a U.S. government professor at Austin Community College, said he was intelligent and well-loved by everyone in the classroom.

“He was a very vibrant young man, full of life, always smiling,” Osemene told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. “He had what I call a zeal to succeed.”

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Mason had previously shared a couple videos of classical string performances on his Facebook page, and several photos of him show him playing a double bass or sitting at a piano.

A spokesperson from Soundwaves said Mason had worked with its executive director since he was 11 years old.

Mason had left a five-star review on Austin Soundwaves’ Facebook page: “Austin Soundwaves is a great music programs that’s dedicated to the advancement of kids in East Austin thru the power of music,” he wrote. “They push everyone to strive and to do great things in life.”

The group had been contacted by Mason’s family and asked not to comment further.

Mason had performed with the Austin Youth Orchestra for the last six years, its conductor, William Dicks, said Tuesday.

“He was an outstanding young man that had the talent and artistry to be a first class professional musician,” Dicks said. “It’s senseless.”

The first victim

Mason was the second person killed in the series of package explosions that began earlier this month.

Anthony House, who was killed in the first package bombing on March 2, was father to an 8-year-old girl and a Pflugerville High School and Texas State University graduate. Friends remembered him as quiet, clean-cut and driven.

House ran track and played basketball at Pflugerville High School where he made friendships that lasted throughout his life.

“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” said fellow Pflugerville Panther Greg Padgitt, who graduated two years before House. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”

After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in business administration, finance and financial management services in 2008, House started a money managing firm, serving as president of House Capital Management LLC. More recently he worked as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries, a Cedar Park-based lime fabricator, and Acme Brick, a Fort Worth-based firm. According to public records, House had recently begun attending Austin Community College.

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House’s family members declined to speak to the media Tuesday, but Freddie Dixon, House’s stepfather, had previously told the Washington Post that he thinks the bombings were a hate crime.

“Are you trying to say something to prominent African-American families?” Dixon, who is close friends with Mason’s grandfather and is the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League, told the Post. “It’s not just coincidental.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat from Austin, expressed his condolences for House via Facebook on Tuesday afternoon: “The family of Anthony Stephan House, including his wife and 8-year-old daughter, has endured such a terrible loss through an absolutely inexplicable act of violence. Anthony was laid to rest this past weekend. I’ve known his stepfather, the Rev. Freddie Dixon, for many years and send my deepest condolences to the family.”

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Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say

Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Three package explosions in Austin in the past two weeks appear similar and related, authorities said Monday, and police are warning residents against taking suspicious packages inside their homes.

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Teen hit by bus during Washington D.C. field trip dies

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:03 AM

File photo.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A North Carolina teen visiting the nation’s capitol on a middle school field trip died Thursday after he was hit by a bus March 9, according to officials. 

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Hunter Brown, 14, of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, was struck and trapped under a tour bus at around 6:50 p.m. near the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, according to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

Responders were able to jack up the bus and free Brown after about 10 minutes, according to WFMY. He was taken to Children’s National Medical Center where he was in critical condition. 

Brown was visiting Washington, D.C., on an eighth grade field trip with other students from Central Wilkes Middle School, according to WFMY

The incident is being investigated by the U.S. Park Police Traffic Safety Unit and Criminal Investigations

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Florida man armed with 20-inch knife tries to carjack sheriff citizen patrol car, deputies say

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 8:26 PM

A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said. (Photo: Flagler County Sheriff's Office)
A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said. (Photo: Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said.

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Camit said that after the failed carjacking attempt on Eric Drive in Palm Coast, the man, later identified as Stephen Goldberg, fled. Camit followed him and that’s when Goldberg, 32, ran toward her with the knife.

Investigators said deputies arrived and took Goldberg into custody without incident.

“Had he approached a sheriff’s deputy in this manner, it is likely that we would have had a different outcome,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Staly said Goldberg is a “career repeat offender.”

“Our C.O.P.s are invaluable volunteers who serve and help protect this community alongside our deputies. We will not tolerate anyone threatening harm to them or anyone else. I hope the courts keep him locked up and he is sent back to prison where he belongs before he hurts someone,” Staly said.

Camit is a seasoned C.O.P. with several years of experience, and in light of the incident, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will reevaluate the equipment issued to C.O.P.s for their protection.

Goldberg was arrested and charged with attempted armed carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed trespassing.

Deputies said Goldberg will be booked into the Flagler County Detention Facility without bail.

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