Fla. woman claims self-defense in Dedham man’s shooting death

Tamra Leasure describes the moments just prior to when she shot and killed Arthur R. Tilley, Jr. in her Riverview home in March of 2009. Leasure testified about the killing during a hearing before Circuit Judge Manuel Lopez Thursday (07/29/2010) afternoon. Leasure's attorneys were attempting to have charges against Leasure dismissed under Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. At the time of the shooting, Leasure claimed that Tilley had committed suicide and had even placed the gun in Tilley's hand. SUMMARY: Tamra Suzanne Leasure of Riverview was arrested last year on homicide charges in connection with the shooting death a houseguest. On Thursday, her attorney will argue a Stand Your Ground motion in court and Leasure will likely testify. Deputies said she tried to make the killing look like a three-shot suicide. Leasure shot and killed Arthur R. Tilley Jr. on March 5. Investigators said she shot him three times with her .38-caliber pistol then placed it in his hand in an attempt to stage a suicide. Tilley, 57, lived in Dedham, Maine, and had been staying at Leasure's home for several days, Callaway said. Investigators determined that the two had been arguing in the kitchen when Leasure pulled the revolver and shot Tilley three times, according to deputies. Leasure told detectives she called 911 to report a suicide and placed the revolver in Tilley's right hand to make it appear the wounds were self-inflicted.
Stephen J. Coddington | St. Petersburg Times
Tamra Leasure describes the moments just prior to when she shot and killed Arthur R. Tilley, Jr. in her Riverview home in March of 2009. Leasure testified about the killing during a hearing before Circuit Judge Manuel Lopez Thursday (07/29/2010) afternoon. Leasure's attorneys were attempting to have charges against Leasure dismissed under Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. At the time of the shooting, Leasure claimed that Tilley had committed suicide and had even placed the gun in Tilley's hand. SUMMARY: Tamra Suzanne Leasure of Riverview was arrested last year on homicide charges in connection with the shooting death a houseguest. On Thursday, her attorney will argue a Stand Your Ground motion in court and Leasure will likely testify. Deputies said she tried to make the killing look like a three-shot suicide. Leasure shot and killed Arthur R. Tilley Jr. on March 5. Investigators said she shot him three times with her .38-caliber pistol then placed it in his hand in an attempt to stage a suicide. Tilley, 57, lived in Dedham, Maine, and had been staying at Leasure's home for several days, Callaway said. Investigators determined that the two had been arguing in the kitchen when Leasure pulled the revolver and shot Tilley three times, according to deputies. Leasure told detectives she called 911 to report a suicide and placed the revolver in Tilley's right hand to make it appear the wounds were self-inflicted.
Posted Aug. 10, 2010, at 11:31 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 03, 2011, at 10:17 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Florida woman who was arrested last year in that state and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Dedham resident Arthur “Art” Tilley Jr. says she acted in self-defense.

Tamra Suzanne Leasure, 45, of Riverview, Fla., appeared before Florida’s 13th Circuit Court Judge Manuel Lopez on July 29 and asked him to throw out the case against her based on the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

The law was enacted in 2005 and allows the use of deadly force against aggressors when a person “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” the law states.

Leasure, who is out on bail, answered her home phone Tuesday but said she had no comment on the case.

Leasure told Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives that she “shot the victim three times with her .38-caliber handgun and then placed the gun in the victim’s hand to stage a suicide,” a press release posted on the sheriff’s office website at the time of her arrest states.

Tilley, a longtime Bangor resident, was staying with Leasure and was shot and killed in her home on March 5, 2009. Leasure was arrested on May 4, 2009, after an investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“The investigation determined that the defendant and victim were arguing in the kitchen when [Leasure] pulled the revolver and fired, hitting [Tilley] three times — in the head, neck and torso,” the press release states.

During the investigation, Leasure told detectives that “the third shot was not necessary.”

Her Tampa attorney, John M. Fitzgibbons, petitioned the court on July 20 for immunity from criminal prosecution based on the law, which led to the July 29 court session.

Lopez is scheduled to issue a written ruling on the petition, but as of Tuesday had not issued it, according to a Hillsborough County Court clerk. Leasure does have an Oct. 4 court date.

“I don’t want to comment at this point,” Fitzgibbons said Tuesday.

Tilley was a well-known and active Bangor Kiwanis Club member who worked for Page Answering Service for 30 years and later for Com-Nav Inc., both based in Brewer.

His father, Arthur Tilley Sr., is a former Bangor city councilor.

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