James Phillip Lillie, 50, also facing one count of felony firearm possession

Bond denied for Cartersville man facing murder charge

By JAMES SWIFT
Posted 6/2/20

Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Watkins denied a motion to set bond for a Cartersville man charged with murder in Bartow Superior Court Monday afternoon.Defendant James Phillip Lillie, 50, …

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James Phillip Lillie, 50, also facing one count of felony firearm possession

Bond denied for Cartersville man facing murder charge

Posted
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Watkins denied a motion to set bond for a Cartersville man charged with murder in Bartow Superior Court Monday afternoon.
 
Defendant James Phillip Lillie, 50, was initially charged with receipt, possession or transfer of a firearm by a convicted felon or felony first offender and misdemeanor reckless conduct on May 17 following an incident near Wilderness Camp Road in which a child allegedly shot and killed herself.
 
The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) later charged Lillie with involuntary manslaughter. BCSO documents indicate the defendant was released from pretrial detention on May 19 after an $8,500 bond was posted. 
 
 
Codefendant Kimberly Ann Roberts, 47, who is listed as homeless in BCSO documents, is facing identical charges. Roberts is the grandmother of the deceased child. 
 
“This case involved the tragic self-shooting of a small 5-year-old,” said public defender Chris Paul. “It’s my understanding that Mr. Lillie and Ms. Roberts, along with the child’s parents, were camping. Apparently, there was a pistol that belonged to somebody and the child wandered into the tent where the grandmother was sleeping … and shot herself.”
 
Paul said the defendant has 11 previous Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) cycles, describing most of them as “family violence-type batteries.”
 
However, he said Lillie’s only previous felony conviction is an entering an automobile charge from 1991, for which the defendant received a sentence of three years on probation.
 
Paul requested “an omnibus bond” for all of the defendant’s charges, although he did not request a specific monetary amount. 
 
“He does have family living in the area,” Paul said. “He’s got ties to the community — although he does have some criminal history, there’s nothing on his record that indicates he wouldn’t show up for court.”
 
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Holly Varner said Lillie was arrested for domestic violence-battery in 2003, driving under the influence in 2009 and domestic violence-simple battery in 2012. She said he was arrested again in 2016, this time for family violence-aggravated battery. 
 
She said the defendant was also arrested in 2018 after being found in possession of six firearms. Per BCSO records, that same day he was charged with one count of aggravated assault and two misdemeanor charges — one count of possession and use of drug-related objects and one count of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
 
BCSO records indicate he was released on a $22,500 bond on those charges on April 24, 2018. 
 
“His 2018 case is actually still pending and open, and the codefendant in that case is the codefendant in the case we have here,” Varner told the court. 
 
Varner noted that one of the conditions of Lillie’s bond from that case was that he had “absolutely no contact” with Roberts. She said the State intends to file a motion to revoke Lillie’s bond in that aggravated assault case if he is released on bond for the murder charge.
 
Ultimately, Varner said the State believes the defendant is at risk to commit new felonies if released from pretrial detention.
 
“So he is out on bond on serious charges, so I would submit to you, Your Honor, that he is actually likely to continue to commit serious crimes and continue to violate court orders,” she said. “The family members of the victim is afraid of this defendant when he gets out.”
 
Judge Watkins sided with the State, denying bond for the defendant based on the severity of the charges and “potential for intimidation of the witnesses.” 
 
According to BCSO documents, Roberts remains in pretrial detention at the Bartow County Jail, with bond set at $8,500. She has been held in continuous custody at the local jail since May 17.