Tragedy of Absent Fathers: Central Kentucky Man Sentenced Over Deadly Shooting and Crash Incident
LEXINGTON, KY — A Frankfort man was sentenced to a decade behind bars on Monday in a case involving a fatal shooting and car crash that provoked rumination about crime, absent fathers, and the impact on the African American community from Fayette Circuit Judge Julie Goodman, the Herald-Leader’s Taylor Six reports.
Theodrick Tillman, 32, received a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in January to charges of facilitating murder and first-degree criminal mischief, court records revealed. Tillman also carried the weight of being a persistent felony offender.
The tragic sequence of events unfolded on the morning of Nov. 20, 2020, when 37-year-old De’Shawn Jimerson, a Washington resident, was found dead underneath his overturned SUV. Jimerson’s vehicle had run off the road and landed at the bottom of a large culvert at the intersection of Winchester Road and Midland Place in Lexington. The incident was initially investigated as a fatal crash until it was discovered that Jimerson had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
Judge Goodman sentenced Tillman for the amended charges. Tillman’s 10-year sentence for facilitation of murder and a 2-year term for first-degree criminal mischief will run concurrently, which sets his total prison time at 10 years. His sentencing followed three prior scheduled hearings.
Tillman originally faced murder charges connected to Jimerson’s death. However, his offenses were downgraded as part of a plea deal. Interestingly, both Goodman and Tillman’s attorney, Valerie Church, noted the Fayette County Coroner was unable to definitively ascertain whether the crash or the gunshots resulted in Jimerson’s demise. They also pointed out the absence of any evidence suggesting that Tillman was the gunman.
I don’t understand why grown men with seven and 12 children aren’t with their children and instead are out running the roads and the streets — and why one from Washington state, where 12 children are, was in Fayette County,Fayette Circuit Judge Julie Goodman
The judge’s remarks highlighted the devastating fallout of the incident – two fathers now absent from their children’s lives. “I don’t understand why grown men with seven and 12 children aren’t with their children and instead are out running the roads and the streets — and why one from Washington state, where 12 children are, was in Fayette County,” Goodman lamented during sentencing. She expressed concern about the 19 children who would grow up without their fathers due to this incident.
Goodman’s observations tapped into broader societal issues and the often overlooked devastation of crime within the Black community. “It is almost always young Black men who are turning on each other, and society ignores it, and thinks to put them all in the penitentiary and put them out of sight, and it will go away and we won’t have to acknowledge that we have these issues,” Goodman said.
She added, “I cannot make these 19 children have fathers who cared to be at home.”
The victim’s aunt and legal guardian since birth, Debra, spoke via Zoom, expressing her hope that Tillman would spend his time in prison reflecting on the devastation he has wrought. “You left 12 children without a father. I don’t wish pain or suffering on anyone, but we are in a lot of pain and we are all suffering due to the loss of my baby,” she said.
In court, Tillman, father to seven children himself, apologized for his involvement in the tragic incident, acknowledging his own loss. “Everyone makes mistakes and I made one,” Tillman admitted. “I didn’t mean for it to happen but I wish I could take it back.”
The case underscored the ripple effects of crime and violence within the community, the resulting familial devastation, and the need for more effective ways to address these critical issues. In the wake of this tragic incident, 19 children have been left without a father — a sobering reality that underscores the deeper societal implications of this case
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