JUSTICE: Man who Used AK-47 Clone to Defend Self, Children, Found Not Guilty

On 17 September, 2015, Matthew Bowman shot Jimmy Harold Tillery. Tillery was in the driveway of his ex wife, Cheryl Tillery. Bowman used an AK-47 clone. In the initial articles, the firearm was referred to as a “.30-caliber carbine rifle”.

Cheryl Tillery had finalized the divorce with her ex on 14 August, 2015, about a month before the incident.

The Court had issued an emergency protective order on July 20, after an incident where Jimmy Tillery was said to have threatened Matthew Bowman and Cheryl Tillery’s lives and the lives of Bowman’s two young children. On August 6th, the court issued another order prohibiting Jimmy Tillery from coming within 150 feet of Cheryl Tillery or within 200 feet of Matthew Bowman’s children.

Jimmy Tillery had driven onto the couple’s driveway and demanded to speak with his ex-wife. The couple had called 911 and asked the police to help. Bowman had taken his rifle and ordered Tillery to leave the property. Tillery refused, multiple times. Bowmans lawyer gave this argument in court:

Bowman says Tillery drove toward the house from the head of the driveway at high speed before he stopped short and yelled that he wanted to speak to his ex-wife.

Bowman maintains that he had reason to believe Tillery possessed a concealed carry permit and liked to carry a handgun with him at all times.

Luby argued at trial that his client’s decision to shoot was lawful because Tillery was trespassing at the time, had made prior threats to kill Bowman, his ex-wife and himself, and was acting on that day “in a violent, tumultuous manner.”

Bowman fired 4-5 shots at Tillery, who was in the drivers seat of his car. The police arrived a few minutes later.

Bowman always claimed the shooting was in self defense. He refused to plea bargain and took the case to a jury trial.

On 1 September, 2017, almost two years after the incident, a jury found Matthew Bowman not guilty. From stwnewspress.com:

Matthew Bowman, 41, was found not guilty of either second-degree murder or armed criminal action in the Pineville, Missouri, shooting death of Jimmie Tillery in September 2015.

Domestic defense cases tend to be messy. I suspect the two restraining orders and the refusal to leave were highly significant factors in the juries decision.

The AK type rifle can be considered a “.30-caliber carbine rifle”, but the description explains how defensive uses of modern sporting rifles are under reported in the media.  Most reporters do not know the technical aspects of firearms. In addition, details of defensive shootings may not be released until long after the event was considered news. Those who desire a disarmed population repeatedly claim that AK and other types of modern sporting rifles are not useful for self defense.

In this case, the jury trial resulted in more detailed reporting nearly two years after the event. It is worth noting that this shooting was almost certainly reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) as a murder. The FBI UCR does not track the results of trials, only arrests and reports of crime. The FBI justified homicide reports only catch about 20% of justified homicides in the nation.

The FBI classes murders and non-negligent homicides in the UCR report together in the murder category. About 2% of homicides are recorded in the UCR as justified, so the actual number is about 10%.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch


Editor’s Note: This once again goes to show how little of actual help a little piece of paper in the form of a restraining order is going to get you.  Unless you have the means to enforce said restraining order in your own defense, it’s about as effective as a gun free zone sign.  In other words, not at all.  Because when someone with ill intent is going to commit a crime, a sign or a piece of paper is not going to stop them.  What is going to stop them?  Thrown lead at high velocity.  The best defense, as they say, is a good offense.



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