Barker sentenced to life in prison for 2016 Cotton District murder

Joseph Tillman was shot and killed in November 2016 in Starkville.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 5:10 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2019 9:07 PM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - A judge sentenced Jaylen Barker to life in prison for the murder of a Mississippi State University student in 2016.

District Attorney Scott Colom announced Tuesday afternoon that Barker pleaded guilty earlier in the day to first degree murder of Joseph Tillman on Nov. 6, 2016, during a robbery gone wrong.

Photo: Starkville Police Department

Joseph Tillman

Tillman, 21, of Schlater, was a senior at MSU.

“Mr. Barker got in front of the court," Colom said. "The judge was very clear, ‘Did you kill Joseph Tillman?'"

Colom said Barker replied, "Yes I did it."

"So he was under oath when he said that. There is no longer any mystery as to who killed Joseph Tillman.”

The district attorney said the life sentence is important.

“If you decide to do something to make the community unsafe, you need to be prepared,” he said.

The shooting happened on Maxwell Street.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Rogillio said Barker planned the robbery with his friends and asked Tillman to give him change for $100.

He said one person snatched Tillman’s wallet and ran away, and Barker shot and killed Tillman.

Barker was arrested following the incident and was later indicted in 2017 for capital murder.

Two other suspects still face charges in the case

Syboris Pippins will stand trial for capital murder. Brandon Sherrod will stand trial for accessory after the fact.

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