Stealing added to rap sheet

An Augusta man with a long criminal record was sentenced to a maximum 11-year prison term Wednesday for stealing a man's truck and running over the victim's foot in the process.

Juan R. Tillman, 37, wanted to withdraw his guilty plea after hearing Judge James G. Blanchard Jr.'s sentence, but it was too late, the judge said.

Mr. Tillman pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to theft and hit-and-run.

On July 8, Mr. Tillman hopped into Broderick Smith's truck, which the victim had left running. When Mr. Smith tried to stop Mr. Tillman from stealing the truck, Mr. Tillman ran over Mr. Smith's foot, breaking most of the bones, said Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Fogus.

When he was arrested a few days later, Mr. Tillman had cocaine on him. That case was dismissed in the plea agreement between the prosecutor and defense attorney Jennifer Brock of the public defender's office.

When Mr. Tillman apologized but tried to downplay his involvement and criminal history Wednesday, the judge read from Mr. Tillman's rap sheet.

Mr. Tillman's convictions date back to 1987. Among them is an involuntary manslaughter conviction. In June 1989 he shot 18-year-old Robert A. Overton to death.

Mr. Tillman tried to explain Wednesday that the shooting was in self-defense but Georgia law doesn't recognize that defense.

Judge Blanchard informed Mr. Tillman that he had practiced criminal law for 20 years and Georgia law does indeed recognize self-defense.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.