ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A Rockford man responsible for a 2014 shooting death will now spend the next 65 years behind bars.
35-year-old Willie Burnett Jr. was sentenced this afternoon for killing who he called his best friend James Tilson two years ago in the 4200 block of Crandall Avenue.
The judge says it’s a sad state where two creative people have to revert to selling drugs and money is the reason for the shooting.
Tilson’s family says it has been a long time coming, but justice has finally been served.
UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Jurors have convicted a local man of murdering his best friend in a 2014 shooting.
33-year-old Willie Burnett Jr. has been found guilty of killing 27-year-old James Tilson during what witnesses describe as a strong friendship that took an ugly turn. The family thinks Tilson told Burnett that he couldn't use his hotel room, causing the argument to spiral into violence.
Tilson was found slumped over the wheel of a car in a driveway on Crandall Avenue.
Burnett claimed self defense, but was found guilty on all counts.
UPDATE: A Rockford man has been charged with first-degree murder in a shooting earlier this month.
33-year-old Willie Burnett Jr. made his first court appearance this afternoon.
Burnett was taken into custody yesterday on an unrelated weapons charge. He remains in the Winnebago County Jail.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – Police say a 27-year-old murder victim was shot multiple times in a car on Rockford’s west side over weekend.
James Tilson was found dead Sunday morning in the driveway of a vacant home in the 4200 block of Crandall Avenue.
According to detectives, Tilson was slumped over in the driver’s seat with the engine still running.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Winnebago County Sheriff's Police say a man was found shot to death Sunday morning in Rockford's west side.
Investigators say 27 year old James S. Tilson of Rockford was found shot multiple times in a golden Buick that was parked halfway into the driveway of a vacant home on the 4200 block on Crandall Avenue.
Investigators say a man called about the body around 6:30 am.
The man who called police tells 23 News his family owns the home where the car and victim was found.
He tells us the he walked over to the victim's car after noticing it was only halfway into the driveway and when he looked inside he saw Tilson dead and immediately called police.
Neighbors in the area tell us this incident brings back memories of another murder that happened just a couple hundred feet away at the home where 8 year old Thomas Kossow was brutally stabbed to death by his mother according to police.
"Now with this happening," said neighborhood man Kacey Francis, "literally I want to move out."
Police haven't named any suspects in the case.