Police: Man arrested after fight at St. Francis House

Published: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 6:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 6:37 p.m.

A Gainesville man was arrested early Thanksgiving morning after police say he beat up a man at St. Francis House earlier this week, then later that day punched the man through a rolled-down car window.

Johnnathan Brandon Tillman, 22, was arrested around 1 a.m. Thursday and faces a felony-level charge of burglary of an occupied conveyance and a misdemeanor charge of simple battery, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.

The victim had contacted GPD on Sunday to report that someone mugged him at St. Francis House, at 413 S. Main St. in Gainesville, earlier that day. He told police he and Tillman had exchanged words because he was holding the door open and letting cold air in. He said Tillman then took off his shirt and started beating him with his fists, the report states.

A number of other people intervened and both the victim and Tillman were told to leave. Only one person was willing to give a witness statement while the others “didn't want to get involved,” the report said.

The victim suffered abrasions on his face and severe facial swelling and may have a broken nose. He got into his car with the witness and they drove away. The victim parked a few blocks away and put an ice-bag on his face. He was sitting in the driver's seat with the window rolled down when Tillman walked up, the report stated.

When he saw Tillman walking toward the car, the victim yelled at him to “Let it go, man ... I'm 63 years old,” according to the report. Tillman allegedly ran up and started punching the victim through the open window, giving him more facial injuries.

The witness told police she heard Tillman yelling “It's over when I say it's over,” as well as other things, while hitting the victim.

Tillman then left the area.

The victim was taken by EMS personnel to a hospital, where he stayed for nearly 10 hours.

The next day, Tillman told a law enforcement officer he was familiar with that he might be accused of a fight at St. Francis House, according to the police report.

When the officer was consulted Wednesday and was asked whether he recognized the description of the Sunday incident, he said he realized it must have been the one that Tillman, who matched the description of the suspect, had told him about.

Later on Wednesday, the victim and witness were interviewed independently and gave the same story. While an officer interviewed the victim at a convenience store, customers walking by told him his face looked much better that day.

Tillman's photo was put in two six-person photo lineups and both the victim and witness identified him. The witness had a “clear emotional response” to Tillman's photo, as she was “terrified” of him, the report noted.

Tillman was found and arrested early Thursday and was taken to the Alachua County Jail. His bond was set at $7,500, according to the jail website.

He admitted to the fight at St. Francis House but denied what allegedly happened at the victim's car, the report said.

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