'She was scared of him:' Littleton man bonded out of jail 2 weeks before being charged with murder

21 April 2022

— The manhunt continues for a man accused of shooting and killing the mother of his child in Halifax County

Authorities are on day three of the search for 22-year-old Jamazia Tillery, who is wanted for the murder of Montasia Arrington.

Just two weeks prior to her murder, Tillery was charged with stabbing her – but he was released on bond.

In a story you’ll only see on WRAL, Keenan Willard spoke with Arrington’s family, and the judge who gave Tillery bond after the first assault.

“At this point, you don’t really know. So I would really like to see his picture put out there again, so if anybody sees him they can contact someone and let us know about it,” says Littleton Police Chief Phillip Trivette.

They are working with multiple agencies to find him, but they aren’t sure if he’s still in the area.

Authorities are on day three of the search for 22-year-old Jamazia Tillery, who is wanted for the murder of Montasia Arrington.

Police say Tillery shot and killed Arrington and wounded her mother before escaping.

“[Her mother] got shot trying to save Montasia. She pushed Montasia out of the way and told her to run,” said Brenda Royster, Arrington’s grandmother.

She says Arrington was a kind and loving young woman.

With Tillery on the loose, their family is living in fear.

“He still has not been caught. And it’s just terrible. It’s terrible. I fear for my other granddaughters,” Royster said.

They also say this wasn’t the first time Tillery threatened Arrington’s life.

“A few weeks ago he came visiting the baby. He attacked [Arrington] with a knife. He cut her leg and her hand,” Royster said.

Tillery was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, as well as assault on a female. Before she was killed, Arrington went before the court and asked them to keep Tillery in jail. That was on April 4.

Littleton police: Man shot, killed his child's mother

“She was scared of him. She was scared of him and she didn’t want him to get out on bond,” Royster said. “She didn’t want him to have no bond – because she feared for her life with him.”

Court records appear to show Tillery was initially taken in with no bond, but it was modified: Judge W. Turner Stephenson gave Tillery a bond of $40,000 on the condition that he stayed away from Arrington and didn’t carry a gun.

Tillery bonded out the next day. Two weeks later, he allegedly shot and killed Arrington.

“We were under the impression that he wasn’t getting a bond, and that he was going to be locked up,” Royster said. “This mama had a baby. She’s got a little boy that will never know his mom.”

WRAL News got a phone number for the judge who set the bond, who tells us Tillery’s records only said no bond at first because he was arrested on the weekend – and that isn’t decided until he goes before a judge.

“He was really not charged with anything that he would have gotten no bond. We would have a jail with thousands of people in it if all the domestic cases stayed no bond,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said at the time, he believed $40,000 was going to be enough to keep Tillery in jail.

“I mean in hindsight, sure, I would like to go back and he have no bond and still be in jail today,” Stephenson said. “But I don’t get the luxury of knowing what we know now when I’m setting a bond.”

But Arrington’s family says it was plain to see Tillery posed a threat — and they feel the justice system failed her.

“She wanted somebody to protect her, and we couldn’t protect her,” Royster said. “We couldn’t protect her, and then she went to the people that are supposed to do the protecting, and they couldn’t protect her.”

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