Female suspect charged with assembling a torture kit
Sheriff: Murder plot foiled;
Female suspect charged with assembling a torture kit,
By ISHMAEL TATE – firstname.lastname@example.org
A Lexington County [South Carolina] woman accused of plotting to torture and kill her neighbor assembled a bag containing syringes, a knife, a hatchet and a sledgehammer to do so, police say.
Elizabeth Ann Tillman, 22, of Sangaree Drive is accused of shooting her neighbor, 24-year-old Crystal Lee Walker, in the leg early Monday morning.Police say the women had been feuding.
Tillman is charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said.
He said police found a black gym bag underneath a bedroom window outside Walker’s home. The bag contained two plastic syringes filled with insulin, an 8-inch filet knife, a hatchet, a sledgehammer, a drywall saw, duct tape, latex gloves, scissors, super glue, pepper spray and eight 9mm handgun bullets. Tillman told investigators she intended to inject Walker with the insulin toinduce a diabetic coma, before torturing and killing her, Metts said. Tillman’s father had used insulin in the past to control his diabetes.
Tillman legally purchased a Springfield 9mm gun April 9 at a Lexington County gun shop and practiced firing the weapon at the store’s firing range. On April18, she bought the tools and items recovered in the gym bag, Metts said.
About 5 a.m. Monday, police say, Tillman used her public-library card to force open the front door of Walker’s house, two doors down from hers, Metts said. Tillman fired several shots at Walker, who barricaded herself and her son in a bedroom, Metts said.
When Tillman couldn’t get the door open, Metts said, she fired through it, hitting Walker in the left thigh. Bullet fragments also caused injuries to both her hands. Walker and her son, who wasn’t injured, escaped through a bedroom window, Metts said.
Tillman followed them outside and shot at them as they ran, he said. Tillman emptied one magazine, reloaded and continued shooting, Metts said.
Walker was treated and released from Palmetto Health Richland, Metts said.
Neighbor Sonya Smithart said she heard about three gunshots Monday morning and looked at her clock. It was 5:32 a.m. She woke her son, Ross Pait, after she heard two more.
“I heard a lot more than five shots, but it sounded like it was coming from higher in the trailer park, and sometimes they get to shooting up there,” Pait said. “I didn’t think nothing of it.”
Later, Smithart and Pait learned Walker had been shot. They said Walker’s mother also lives in the house and described the family as quiet.
The neighborhood was quiet Tuesday afternoon. A red Chevy Nova was parked under a tree at Walker’s home, and a child’s bike rested on the front porch. A length of yellow police tape wrapped around a fence was the only thing left from Monday’s flurry of police activity.
Police say Tillman and Walker were in an ongoing dispute, including Tillman saying that Walker was cheating on her boyfriend. Metts said it’s unclear why Tillman was concerned about Walker’s boyfriend.
Metts said Tillman had been leaving notes on Walker’s car.
Police say that on April 17, Tillman’s older brother, Glenn Raney Jr., 28, broke into Walker’s home and stole electronic equipment and other items.
Raney died later that day in a wreck after a high-speed chase involving PineRidge police. Items suspected to have been stolen from Walker’s house were recovered in the car he was driving.
Until Monday, the incidents between Tillman and Walker had never been physical, Metts said.
Tillman was denied bail on the assault and weapons charges Tuesday afternoon. Abail hearing for the first-degree burglary charge, which carries a possible life sentence, has not been scheduled, Metts said.
Reach Tate at (803) 771-8549.