By Steve Rogers/The Packet

Deondra Deshun Tillman

A homeowner stabs an intruder to death and Columbus police say they may never know for sure why the 21-year-old broke into the house in the first place.

A Lowndes County grand jury will review the case but, as of now, investigators say it appears to be a classic case of the state’s “Castle Doctrine” self-defense law and no charges are being filed.

Deondra Deshun Tillman died at about 2:15 Saturday morning at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle where he was taken after being stabbed twice in the upper chest by a man who lives at 140 Lake Norris Road on the city’s Southside near Ninth Street South and 17th Avenue.

Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said an autopsy revealed Tillman died from those two stab wounds from an 8-9-inch kitchen knife.

Police say the homeowner said he and his family awoke at about 1 a.m. to someone knocking on the front door. As he and his wife went to check, the person, later identified as Tillman, went to a side door and entered the house. Tillman was confronted by the homeowner, who had armed himself with the kitchen knife.

Police already were on their way to the area because Tillman apparently had gone first to a nearby house and done the same thing. At that house, he left when confronted by the woman occupant, police said.

In both cases, the residents said they didn’t know Tillman, who is described as slightly built at about 5 feet, 8 inches and 135 pounds, or why he was in the area. Tillman has different previous addresses on Taylor Street and 11th Street South

Police did not find a car in the area that might have belonged to Tillman and don’t know why he was in the area or how he got there.

Police have refused repeated requests to provide other details or information, saying they want to make sure the investigation is thorough and complete and not tainted by too much publicity or speculation.

Merchant said he understood Tillman had been with some people earlier Friday evening on the city’s Southside but that police still are trying to string together a complete timeline.

Toxicology tests are being done to see whether drugs might have played some role in Tillman’s behavior, but those results won’t be available for weeks.

Lee-Sykes Funeral Home in Columbus is in charge of Tillman’s funeral arrangements.

He has prior arrests and felony convictions.

[As reported in Packet #1179, Mr. Tillman was arrested in February of last year after a car he was riding in led police on a chase through Northside, eventually knocking down a light pole at MLK and 21st Avenue and causing a blackout in the area. Mr. Tillman was injured and unable to flee on foot, and was arrested at the scene. He was reportedly wearing a house arrest anklet at the time. He was charged with possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. – Ed.]